Rex Ryan knows there are several fundamental areas the Jets need to improve on in order to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. New York sits at 3-5, tied for last place in the AFC East.
The Jets head coach is still optimistic in the following interview, but let’s face it: This team has issues on both sides of the football and yet Tim Tebow is still the main topic of conversation. New York will fly west this week to take on a 5-4 Seattle Seahawks team that is undefeated at home.
Rex Ryan joined ESPN New York with The Michael Kay Show to discuss the New York Jets making second-half corrections, not believing the Jets aren’t a good team this year, Tim Tebow being used differently against the Seattle Seahawks, the trade for Tebow not being a Woody Johnson move and Mark Sanchez’s inconsistent play.
Is there one thing that shines over the rest that needs to be corrected in the second half?:
“There’s issues in all three phases. I wish it was just, ‘Hey, look, this person has to play better,’ or, ‘This part of our game has to get better.’ I think there are things across the board we know we have to get better at. Those are the things we are really going to focus on. Our third-down defense has to get better. We’ve been stopping the run better, but it’s still not where we need it to be, and then our red-zone defense. Those are things that have to be our focus, like forcing turnovers. Gotta find a way to get the ball out. Those are things we are really focusing on defense and then, offensively, quite honestly you gotta eliminate the turnovers and it’s easier said than done. We cannot, especially in the red zone, turn the football over, and those are areas that are really hurting us. And then on special team … we’ll go years and years never getting a punt blocked. This is the first time I remember getting a punt blocked. We’ve had two blocked and we’ve done some good things on special teams, but those things kill you and they are back-breakers. It’s not something we are accustomed to and our special teams have always been a focus and we need to get back to that as well. There’s a lot of things we have to get corrected, and then looking at your team and how we can maximize players that we have. Those are things you look at as well.”
Would you allow yourself to think the team is just not that good this year?:
“No. I think that’s kind of a defeatist attitude, maybe a loser’s mentality. It certainly isn’t our mentality. We know that obviously at 3-5 nobody is happy with that. Not even close, but we’re confident we can get this thing turned. We have to. That’s our mission and we gotta do whatever it takes to get into the playoffs, and the best way to do that is start on Sunday, and that’s no easy task. You’re playing at Seattle, where they are undefeated and the crowd is legendary in the way they support their team, and we kind of know we are walking into a hornets nest and we have to be ready to deal with it.”
Will we see Tim Tebow used differently on Sunday?:
“When I mentioned that we need to find a way to look at our roster, not just Tim Tebow, but everybody on our team, and what we are asking our guys to do. How we can put our guys in the best situation and help this football team?Those are the things we are looking at, not just necessarily Tim Tebow.”
Each week it seems more and more like trading for Tim Tebow was a Woody Johnson decision because you guys don’t use him enough?:
“That’s definitely not the case. We felt, and still feel, that Tim can really help us, and I understand that’s your guys’ opinion and you certainly have every right to your opinion, but I’m not going to get into specifics of what we plan on or not plan on doing with him. But again, I don’t think it’s a Tim Tebow thing, but it’s our whole roster, and I certainly understand he’s a unique player, but I’m not going to get into any more specifics than that about him.”
What’s the deal with Mark Sanchez in your opinion?:
“There’s been times when Mark has played really well. You look at the New England game. Specifically, he’s had some games where he’s put up huge numbers against them. Again, it just hasn’t been consistent. We’ve had some great games from him and maybe there’s been parts of games where he hasn’t been as good, obviously, but I think you say that to Mark Sanchez, but to our football team. Those are the things you gotta work on and those are the things we are working on to find ways to get more consistent and to carry over what we had on the practice field to Sunday in these games. I think that’s the thing we are really working on.”