With odds stacked, Jets look to restore pride

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012
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"I think, without question, our pride was hurt a little bit," Ryan said. "Our football team, that's not a typical New York Jets game. Now, we've lost in the past, but we haven't been beat like that."

Actually, as Ryan later pointed out, they have. Back in 2010, when the Jets went to New England in a battle for first place in the division — and the Patriots romped 45-3. New York got back up and rebounded all the way to their second straight AFC championship game appearance.

"That was probably the only game that I can remember that was worse than that game," Ryan said. "We're going to come back the way we know how. We're not covering up. We're going to be throwing punches."

The feistiness Ryan has always been known for still comes out, but in smaller spurts now than they used to. He thrives in the role of the underdog, and his teams have generally done the same.

But, he knows his team is up against the wall right now with key players out and both sides of the ball having trouble establishing themselves. So, Ryan and his coaching staff huddled for two days and gave the players off so they could come up with some ways to fix the mess. When offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo suggested the offense and defense have a "nosebleed Wednesday" — an extra 8-minute period of practice in which the base units go up against each other — Ryan jumped at the chance.

"I challenged our guys to really compete against each other and the only way to get better is when you go full-speed on each other," Ryan said. "That's what we got back to, and that's what we did."

The Jets talked about tackling after Ryan said during a radio interview that his team missed 17 of them against the 49ers. There were basic concepts discussed, such as players getting their bodies in better position to actually take down an opposing runner and also getting off blocks.

Fundamentals. Back to basics. Whatever you want to call it — Ryan knew it needed to get done.

"I certainly don't have all the answers," he said. "I'm just trying to do what's in the best interest of our football team. We need to improve and I'm reaching out for ways to do that."

NOTES: The Jets will honor former DE Mark Gastineau and WR Wesley Walker by inducting them into their Ring of Honor on Monday night. "I'll probably start crying," said Gastineau, who made headlines for his popular sack dances and high-profile romance with actress Brigitte Nielsen during his playing days. Walker said he supports Sanchez as the Jets' quarterback, but wants to see more from him. "To become a premier quarterback, he has got to step up," Walker said. "A big issue with leadership is can he perform with the weapons he does have? I like Mark Sanchez, but he hasn't been that guy, as far as I'm concerned." ... ST coordinator Mike Westhoff said newly signed CB Aaron Berry and FB Lex Hilliard will have key roles on his unit.

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