AFC East: New York Jets

Film review: Get it together, Rex

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
4:40
PM ET
One last look at the New York Jets' 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

Ryan
Rex needs Rx for mistakes: The major takeaway from the game is this: Rex Ryan needs to get his house in order. The timeout fiasco has overshadowed a number of other inexcusable blunders, including: Three wasted timeouts because of communication issues; a penalty for 12 men on the field that nullifed an interception (heck, there were two plays in which they had only 10 on the field); Muhammad Wilkerson's ejection for fighting; and, of course, Sheldon Richardson's ill-fated timeout from the sideline.

Right now, the Jets are an undisciplined football team (18 penalties in two games), and that falls on the coach. Ryan isn't a taskmaster, we all know that. His players like his easygoing style and they play hard for him, but there has to be a happy medium. A team with middling talent can't overcome these type of unforced errors. It's unbecoming, and it's a recipe for a losing season.

Oops: Speaking of penalties, I'd like to throw a flag on myself. On Monday, I recognized rookie safety Calvin Pryor for not making any major mistakes in the game. Upon reviewing the tape, I noticed at least three significant errors -- plays in which he reacted late and took bad angles. That was the knock on him in the draft.

Pryor
It showed up late in the second quarter, toward the end of the Packers' 97-yard touchdown drive. Cornerback Antonio Allen surrendered a 24-yard completion to Davante Adams, but he was expecting inside help from Pryor, whose misplay allowed Adams to gain a chunk of yards after the catch. On Jordy Nelson's 80-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, Pryor -- in the deep middle -- was late on the scene after Dee Milliner was toasted. Pryor took a poor angle and missed the tackle at the Jets' 41, springing Nelson for the play that changed the game. Pryor also was late on a 33-yarder to Nelson, with Milliner in coverage.

Basically, Pryor is playing out of position. He made his mark as a "box" safety for Louisville, highlighting his hard-hitting style, but he has been playing mostly away from the line of scrimmage with the Jets.

Jordy TD postscript: A funny thing (well, not funny) happened on Nelson's touchdown. The other cornerback, Darrin Walls, blitzed from Aaron Rodgers' backside and came within a split-second of hitting him before the throw. Ryan rarely blitzes his corners, but this was an unusual case because the Packers didn't have a receiver on Walls' side of the field. This is a game of split seconds, all right.

No sign of 'prevent': Ryan took some heat for getting conservative with his defensive calls on the Packers' 97-yard drive at the end of the half, but nothing could be further from the truth. He sent four or more rushers on nine of the 10 pass plays, including a seven-man rush (a 14-yard completion) and a six-man rush (Randall Cobb's 6-yard touchdown catch). Cobb beat nickelback Kyle Wilson, who was on an island with no safety help. Jason Babin's roughing-the-passer penalty was huge.

Discount triple-check: Rodgers took a lot of grief for avoiding Seattle Seahawks All-Pro corner Richard Sherman in the season opener, not throwing at all in his direction. Against the Jets, Rodgers spread the ball evenly, picking on all three corners. An unofficial breakdown on how they fared:

Milliner -- Seven targets/five completions, 136 yards, one touchdown.

Allen -- Nine targets/four completions, 58 yards (plus a 27-yard penalty for pass interference).

Walls -- Seven targets/four completions, 49 yards.

Smith
Positives from Geno: Geno Smith cooled off after the first three drives, but there were some encouraging moments. His best play was the 29-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker, who faked Sam Shields with a nifty slant-and-go. Clay Matthews came free on a delayed stunt and blasted Smith just as he released the pass. He didn't flinch at all. On his 12-yard flip pass to Bilal Powell, Smith -- under duress -- kept his eyes focused downfield, never looking at the pass rush. That's an important trait for a young quarterback.

Smith took the blame on the interception, saying he should've thrown it a split second sooner, but I don't fault him for that. Left guard Brian Winters missed his block, giving Smith no time to step into the throw. Also, Zach Sudfeld could've done a better job of playing the ball. In that situation, with the ball hanging in the air, the receiver has to become like a defensive back and try to knock it down.

Winters chill: Winters had a tough game. Aside from the missed block on the interception, he allowed a sack and missed a block that resulted in a 6-yard loss on a run by Chris Johnson.

Odds and ends: How did the Jets blow an 18-point lead? Well, they got away from the running game. While building the 21-3 lead, they called 18 running plays and 10 pass plays. From that point on, it was 16 rushes and 26 passes. Yes, the Packers did a surprisingly good job of defending the run, but I think Marty Mornhinweg got caught up in the Packers' quick, pitch-and-catch style, trying to keep pace with Rodgers. Mornhinweg said he didn't trust Smith on the ill-fated timeout, but he sure trusted him to throw a lot in the second half. ... When linebacker Quinton Coples lined up wide on one play to jam Nelson at the line, the Packers responded by calling a run against the Jets' light box. Smart cookie, that Rodgers. ... Coples (one sack, four QB hits) had one of his better games, exploiting fill-in right tackle Derek Sherrod.
Some blunders, such as the Butt Fumble, just happen without warning and without reason. The main characters in that drama were Mark Sanchez and Brandon Moore's butt. Sunday's timeout fiasco for the New York Jets included 10 seconds of build up and involved four principals: offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith and Rex Ryan.

Here's a nearly second-by-second breakdown of what went wrong (and why) on the fourth-and-4 play from the Green Bay Packers' 36-yard line with a little more than five minutes to play, which resulted in the touchdown that wasn't:

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan
AP Photo/Mike RoemerSheldon Richardson (left), Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg (far right) each deserve part of the blame for the New York Jets' timeout fiasco Sunday.
5:14 (13 seconds on play clock): Bilal Powell, lined up to the right of Smith in shotgun, raises his arms, confused. He's not sure if he's in the proper position.

5:12 (11 seconds): Following Smith's command, Powell moves to the quarterback's left.

5:10 (9 seconds): A cat-and-mouse game develops. Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett, seeing Powell's shift, walks up to the line of scrimmage and positions himself outside right tackle Breno Giacomini. Burnett is in blitz position, staring at an empty backfield on that side of the formation. The Packers have seven at the line of scrimmage, showing heavy blitz. Mornhinweg recognizes the situation and starts walking toward Ryan while trying to speak to him on the headset. Ryan can't hear him because he's on the defensive channel.

5:08 (7 seconds): Unable to speak to Ryan, Mornhinweg tries to get Ryan's attention by gesturing for a timeout, frantically. He makes the "timeout" gesture no fewer than nine times. Line judge Byron Boston briefly turns his head to his left, noticing Mornhinweg's antics. Boston ignores Mornhinweg, fully aware of the rule that only a head coach can call a timeout from the sideline, with one exception: The line judge, instructed not to turn his back to the field when the snap is imminent, can award a timeout if he believes the command comes from the head coach.

5:07 (6 seconds): Smith sees the shift in the Packers' defense and calmly points to Powell, instructing him to shift again. And so Powell does, flipping back to the right side of the quarterback.

5:06 (5 seconds): Mornhinweg, managing to keep his eyes on the field as he's gesturing, notices Smith has corrected the formation issue. Immediately, Mornhinweg changes his mind, motioning to call off the timeout. He extends both arms like a baseball umpire on a "safe" play. Ryan, standing six yards away from Mornhinweg at the Packers' 37, apparently sees none of this. His eyes are focused on the field. Simultaneously, Richardson -- only one yard to Ryan's right -- steps forward toward Boston.

5:05 (4 seconds): Richardson, only a few inches from Boston's right ear, leans in and calls the timeout.

5:04 (3 seconds): The ball is snapped, a split-second before Boston blows his whistle and raises his arms to kill the play. A frame-by-frame review shows the shotgun snap is halfway to Smith when the play is blown dead. Technically, the play should've counted -- a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley. As it turns out, it's only a four-man rush by the Packers. Powell runs a pass route to the right sideline, drawing Burnett in coverage. What will never be known, however, is whether the Packers slacked off, knowing the play didn't count. Judging by the reaction, some players -- including safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the end zone -- knew there was no play.

"You know what? It really doesn’t matter now," Ryan said Monday.

THE BLAME GAME

1. Richardson -- To his credit, he stepped up after the game, taking full responsibility. Obviously, he meant well, but he has to know that players play and coaches coach. The rule book states that only the head coach can call a timeout from the sideline.

2. Mornhinweg -- He panicked with nine seconds left on the play clock. He should've trusted Smith to get it fixed on the field, which he acknowledged Monday.

3. Ryan -- He's the head coach, so the buck stops with him. If there's a communication breakdown on the sideline, the ultimate blame falls on the head coach. Judging from the replay, Ryan had no idea who called the timeout. After the game, he provided no clarity. It was reminiscent of the Santonio Holmes debacle in the final game of the 2012 season, when Ryan admitted he didn't know what was going on.

4. The Jets -- By not making Mornhinweg available after the game, the team hung Richardson out to dry for 24 hours, letting him absorb the heat. That's bad form.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Eric Decker's hamstring injury is a concern, but New York Jets coach Rex Ryan expressed optimism that the wide receiver could be back on the field for next Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears.

“We don’t know right now, we’ll see,” Ryan said. “Hopefully he’ll be ready to roll on Monday.”

Decker had four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown Sunday at Green Bay, but was unable to play in a crucial -- and scoreless -- fourth quarter. Decker dealt with a hamstring injury during training camp. Jets quarterback Geno Smith said the team had other options if Decker -- the Jets' No. 1 wide receiver -- isn’t in the game.

“We’ve got viable weapons,” Smith said. “We’ve got guys who can go out there and make plays. David Nelson made a clutch catch on fourth down. I think Jeremy Kerley did a phenomenal job at stepping up when Decker went down and we’ve got Greg Salas who can step in and make plays for us as well. So, we’ve just got to do a better job at finishing games and we had an opportunity to go in on the road and win the game, but we didn’t.”

Brian Winters, the Jets' starting left guard, missed a few plays with a dislocated pinkie finger, Ryan said.
GREEN BAY -- Muhammad Wilkerson apologized to his teammates after the game. It was a stand-up gesture, but it didn't minimize the damage. The New York Jets played the final 21 minutes Sunday without their best defensive player.

Wilkerson was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter of the Jets' 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. It happened on a two-point play, of all things, with Wilkerson taking a swing at a Green Bay player. For the second time in his career, Wilkerson was tossed.

"I lost my cool and I let my emotions get the best of me," Wilkerson said in a hallway outside the Jets' locker room. "I can't do that. I let my teammates down. I apologized to everybody in the locker room. My actions, I can't do that. I'm a leader on this team. That's just not the way I'm supposed to act."

Sheldon Richardson also was involved in the melee, and he, too, was flagged for unsportsmanlike. Initially, he thought he was also ejected. The Jets claimed they reacted when a Green Bay grabbed safety Dawan Landry around the throat.

"A guy grabbed my facemask when I pulled a lineman off Dawan," Richardson said. "It just got chippy. For some reason, the refs were grabbing us. Mo threw a punch, you can't do that, but you have to protect your own players. I know Mo. We don't go for that at all. You put your hands on our teammates, we'll most definitely put our hands on you. I know he feels bad about it. He means well. We let them down. It can't happen."

Wilkerson and Richardson are the young stars of the Jets, the bright hopes for the future. With that comes the responsibility of leadership.

Rex Ryan said he understood why Wilkerson was so enraged, but he added, "It's an emotional game, but taking a swing is not acceptable."

As he left the field, Wilkerson was smiling, playing to the jeering crowd as he walked to the tunnel to the locker room. He said he had to control himself from letting his true feelings spill out, meaning an obscene gesture.

"Honestly, I really wanted to go out in a negative way, but I didn't," he said. "I didn't want to lose my cool and make it worse."

Week 2 Predictions: Jets vs. Packers

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
12:45
PM ET

Geno Smith: Red-zone struggles addressed

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
7:50
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Twenty-five percent efficiency in the red zone isn’t going to cut it.

“Last week, we were 1-for-4 [one touchdown in four trips],” New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith said Wednesday.

Smith
"I had the turnover and then I also had the sack, so those are two things I need to clean up for myself."

"And then," he continued, "when it comes to penalties and those things, I’m sure we’ll straighten that out. We talked about it; we’re emphasizing it all week, so we’ve got to get better at the small things, and when we get in the red zone, we have to score points."

The Jets ran 11 plays inside the 21-yard line in Week 1 that produced a net of minus-39 yards. Included in those 11 plays: two sacks (minus-31 yards) and two penalties (minus-25 yards).

As Smith, who lost a fumble at the 1-yard line, said, those things need to be cleaned up. You can get away with it against the Oakland Raiders. But the Green Bay Packers are a different story entirely.

“Every game is different,” Smith said. “Every single game is different and there will be critical moments in every game and you’ve got to be able to manage it, and it’s about how you do in those critical moments. For us, it’s about just managing the situation. We try to be masters of situational football, and that’s exactly what it is. We have to be mindful of the situation at all times."

Injury report: Jets' Colon (calf) limited

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
5:40
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets right guard Willie Colon was limited during Wednesday’s practice due to a nagging calf injury. But the 31-year-old veteran says he expects to play in Sunday’s Week 2 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Colon
Colon
“Sometimes those things can be bothersome, but I don’t think it’s going to keep Willie out,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Left guard Brian Winters did practice, but he was seen with a large wrap on his right elbow.

That likely explains why the Jets worked out veteran guards Doug Legursky and Jeff Baca on Tuesday.

Ryan said he is “cautiously optimistic” that cornerback Dee Milliner (ankle), who was limited, will be able to make his season debut against the Packers. Milliner had not practiced since getting hurt Aug. 10.

Tight end Jeff Cumberland missed practiced for personal reasons, Ryan said.

JETS

Limited: DB Milliner (ankle), OL Colon (calf), LB IK Enemkpali (foot)

DNP: TE Cumberland (not injury related), LB A.J. Edds (hamstring)

PACKERS

Full practice: CB Demetri Goodson (concussion)

Limited: TE Brandon Bostick (fibula), T Bryan Bulaga (knee)

DNP: RB Eddie Lacy (concussion), LB Brad Jones (quadricep)
Taking one last look at the New York Jets' season-opening win over the Oakland Raiders:

Ivory
How many times have we heard coaches and players say it takes 11 players doing their job for a play to be successful? Well, that's not always true, and the Jets proved it on Chris Ivory's 71-yard touchdown run. On a weakside zone run, left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson whiffed on his block, allowing Raiders rookie linebacker Khalil Mack to knife into the backfield. The play should've been blown up behind the line, but Ivory hit the hole so quickly that he was able to elude Mack. He bailed out Ferguson in a big way.

From there, the blocking was flawless. Right guard Willie Colon and center Nick Mangold opened the middle. Right tackle Breno Giacomini played a key role because he had two responsibilities. With Tyvon Branch coming on a strongside safety blitz, Giacomini assisted tight end Jeff Cumberland, cutting off Branch. Giacomini was then quick enough to get to the second level, where he blocked linebacker Sio Moore. Ivory got a nice block from wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and broke a tackle by Branch (yes, him again), who slid off Ivory's back like butter on a hot skillet. From there, Ivory outran the pursuit to complete his game-changing play.

Funny postscript: Rex Ryan and offensive-line coach Mike Devlin celebrated on the sideline as if they had won the Super Bowl. They jumped up and down and hugged, with Devlin losing his headset in the mayhem. It was caught on TV, so naturally he received some text messages from friends.

Funny postscript II: After beating Ferguson at the point of attack and missing Ivory in the hole, Mack got discombobulated. He tried to get back into the play and tackled his own teammate, Justin Tuck, around the ankles. Meanwhile, Ivory was five yards upfield, leaving folks in his dust.

Smith
Geno's offense: When the Jets drafted Geno Smith, the big question was how he'd make the adjustment to a pro-style offense after playing in West Virginia's shotgun offense. Sunday's game was further proof that the coaches are tailoring the system around him instead of vice versa. He was in shotgun on 25 of his 28 pass attempts -- a 5 percent increase over last season's ratio, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

For the most part, Smith made good decisions in the pocket. In fact, he had a near-perfect passer rating (148.6) when facing at least five pass rushers. His two sacks, however, came against blitzes that weren't blocked particularly well.

Rusty tight end: Cumberland made an impact in the passing game, catching four balls for 50 yards, but he was guilty of two blocking breakdowns that resulted in damaging plays. On Smith's fumble at the Oakland 4, a designed run with Michael Vick deployed as a decoy in the left slot, Cumberland missed his block on Mack, who disrupted the entire play. Smith ended up getting sandwiched by two Oakland defenders, coughing up the ball. In the fourth quarter, on a 19-yard sack, Cumberland got beat by Moore, whose pressure allowed Branch to come clean on a delayed safety blitz. Cumberland was flagged for holding, but it was declined, obviously. Remember, Cumberland missed time in the preseason due to an Achilles injury, a layoff that probably affected his blocking.

Carr
Rattled Carr: The turning point of the game, at least from a defensive standpoint, came when Calvin Pryor dropped a would-be interception. Blown opportunities usually don't have much value, but let's take a closer look. Until this play, rookie quarterback Derek Carr was flawless. He completed seven of his first eight passes, and the incompletion was a drop. He was having his way with the Jets, but he was unsettled on this play and never recovered.

This was a vintage Ryan blitz. There were only two down linemen, with Muhammad Wilkerson on the nose. The situation screamed "blitz," but only four rushers came at first, with Demario Davis joining the party on a delayed blitz. Carr didn't know where to go with the ball; maybe he was confused by the sight of the 315-pound Wilkerson dropping into pass coverage. With Sheldon Richardson and David Harris bearing down on him, Carr panicked and threw over the middle for Denarius Moore, who was in Wilkerson's zone. It should've been a pick-6 for Pryor, who chided himself for dropping it. They didn't get a takeaway or points, but the Jets succeeded in unnerving the rookie quarterback, who completed only 12 of his next 22 passes.

YAC attack: The strength of the secondary was its tackling. In fact, the Jets allowed only 80 yards after the catch (YAC), fourth in the league, per ESPN Stats & Information. Safety-turned-cornerback Antonio Allen really shined, allowing only five yards on four receptions, according to Pro Football Focus. Overall, the secondary was responsible for 10 receptions for 67 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown to James Jones, who made a great catch on Darrin Walls. The other hiccup was Carr's 12-yard screen to Rod Streater, but that wasn't all on the secondary. On a five-man rush, including a slot blitz by Kyle Wilson, Davis was supposed to pick up Wilson's man, Streater. Davis arrived a split second too late and was "picked" by Jones, springing Streater. You can bet the Green Bay Packers will go to school on that.

Rex 'absolutely' hopes Milliner returns soon

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
7:55
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is hopeful that cornerback Dee Milliner can make his 2014 regular-season debut in Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Milliner
When it comes to injured players, Ryan is always hopeful. But this time it sounded like there was a bit more optimism in his voice than usual. Milliner has not practiced since suffering a high-ankle sprain on Aug. 10.

"We'll see how he is on Wednesday [at practice], but I absolutely hope that he can play," Ryan said Monday. "I think Dee's an outstanding player, so yeah we want him back for sure."

The Jets got away with using converted safety Antonio Allen and career backup Darrin Walls at cornerback against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1. But they were facing a rookie in Derek Carr and some pedestrian wide receivers.

Aaron Rodgers is no rookie. And Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb aren't pedestrian.

The Jets are going to need all the help they can get in the secondary. The hope is Milliner will be ready.

A.J. Edds, a solid special-teamer, was the only injury the Jets sustained in Week 1. Edds (hamstring) says he's day-to-day.

Drive of the game: Only 13 seconds

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
1:45
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A look back at the key drive in the New York Jets' 19-14 win against the Oakland Raiders:

Ivory
The Drive: It was short and sweet -- one play, Chris Ivory's 71-yard touchdown run with 8:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Situation: The Jets, clinging to a 13-7 lead, took over at their 29-yard line, looking for a long, time-consuming possession to secure the victory. Ivory was in the game because he's their late-game, ball-control back, a 220-pound bruiser who can wear down a defense. Tired defenders tend to shy away from Ivory because of his powerful and violent running style.

What Happened: Working out of a three-receiver set, Geno Smith handed to Ivory on a basic zone play. The Raiders read the play, slanting to their right. Ivory made a nice cutback at the point of attack, hitting a hole created by right guard Willie Colon, who blocked rookie defensive tackle Justin Ellis out of the play.

Ivory got to the second level, received a nice block from right tackle Breno Giacomini and made another nifty cutback to the right. He broke a couple of tackles and displayed his better-than-advertised speed. He got carried away, making a celebratory pointing gesture around the 35-yard line -- and almost got caught from behind. Yeah, that would've been really embarrassing.

The entire play, start to finish, took 13 seconds. It was the longest run of Ivory's career, and tied for the second-longest scoring run in team history.

The Impact: The Jets took a 19-7 lead after a failed two-point conversion, all the cushion they needed against rookie quarterback Derek Carr.

Geno Smith kept it short and sweet

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
10:20
PM ET
The first step for Geno Smith toward becoming an improved thrower for the New York Jets in 2014 is mastery of the short pass.

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesJets starting quarterback Geno Smith didn't air it out in Week 1 -- a stark change from 2013.
Despite two turnovers (including a fumble deep in Oakland Raiders' territory) and a 32.3 Total QBR, Smith had a good day in one respect. Smith finished with the third-best, single-game completion percentage in Jets' history (minimum 20 attempts), and that was largely due to a dominance with the short throw previously unseen from him.

Video review showed that Smith completed 17 of 19 throws that were in the air no more than five yards. In his last two games of 2013, which were two of Smith’s better games of the season, he totaled 18 such completions on 34 attempts. His 60-percent completion rate on such throws in 2013 was the worst of any quarterback who played in at least 10 games.

Smith’s performance was epitomized by the drive that resulted in Chris Johnson's touchdown 31 seconds before halftime. He went 5-for-7 on that drive, completing passes to five different receivers. All 55 yards passing came as the result of yards gained after the catch.

The short-passing emphasis marked a notable change in strategy from last season.

In 2013, passes that short accounted for less than half of Smith’s attempts (47 percent to be exact). On this day, they represented more than two-thirds of his throws (68 percent).

Smith completed his final 10 pass attempts of the game, and of those, only one was longer than four yards.

Smith did throw one interception, but even that comes with a positive caveat.

The interception came on a throw outside the numbers on the right side of the field.

Overall, Smith went 9-for-11 for 80 yards on throws to that area. Last season, he only completed 47 percent of his throws there.

Chris Ivory blazes to 71-yard run

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
6:57
PM ET
Chris IvoryBrad Penner/USA TODAY SportsChris Ivory's celebration was premature, but that didn't keep him out of the end zone.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Chris Ivory isn't the running back known to break open plays, but there he was, blazing down the rubberized turf to the MetLife Stadium end zone. With 30 yards to go, he popped up his fist and was nearly snared by Oakland Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie, but by the time Ivory finally tumbled he was already into the end zone with a 71-yard touchdown run in the books.

"Just a great run," Ivory said. "I was able to break one or two [tackles]. I saw a cutback lane and I took it and after that, just try to see who is the fastest to the end zone. I got caught but hey, a touchdown is a touchdown."

Ivory
The touchdown was one key in the New York Jets' 19-14 win against the Raiders in the season opener. It tied the record for the longest Jets scoring run, and was the first rushing score since 2011 that was longer than 20 yards.

"First off, I thought he put up his hand too early," backup quarterback Michael Vick said. "He's not a guy who has breakaway speed but he surprised I think over 70,000 people today, including myself, and I'm extremely proud of him."

Ivory admitted that he put his hand up too early.

"I probably did, but it is all good," Ivory said. "You put your hand up you better get it in. As soon as I did it I knew I messed up."

Coach Rex Ryan joked he thought Ivory was pointing to his defenders to get blocking help. "'Block this guy!'" Ryan said, "Something like that."

The Jets had 212 total rushing yards, and Ivory and fellow running back Chris Johnson got the bulk of the carries.

"He's the man," Ryan said. "So is Chris Johnson. So is Chris Ivory. So is Chris-whoever. Those two guys are good. [General manager John Idzik] and I need to get more guys named Chris, I think."

Johnson had 13 carries for 68 yards and Ivory ended with 10 carries for 102 yards. Quarterback Geno Smith added 38 yards on 10 carries, and Bilal Powell had one carry for four yards in a diminished role.

The Jets even had one designed play with Ivory, Johnson and Powell in the backfield.

"I think Chris Ivory is one of the great backs in this league," Vick said. "Nobody runs harder than him, other than Marshawn Lynch, if you ask me. And I think he has a lot to prove and he's going to continuing to keep battling to keep working to help this team."

Rapid Reaction: New York Jets

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
4:00
PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 19-14 victory against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium:

What it means: Frankly, the 2014 Jets look a lot like the 2013 version, which is to say the defense carried the day and bailed out a mistake-prone offense. Sheldon Richardson, who predicted "pure dominance" by the front seven, was on the money. The Jets held the Raiders to 158 total yards, with almost half coming in the final two minutes. Rookie Derek Carr had some early success, especially with short passes, but he came unglued when the Jets turned up the heat. A late touchdown notwithstanding, it still was a terrific performance. But can they maintain the dominance against the upcoming opponents in the NFC North? Puh-lease.

Stock watch: It was a mixed bag for Geno Smith (23-for-28, 221 yards). He was aggressive from the outset, maybe too aggressive with his running, as he took a couple of big hits. He was accurate and made a nifty shovel pass to Chris Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown, avoiding the pass rush. But Smith also made some rookie-type mistakes, throwing an interception, losing a fumble and taking a sack that pushed the offense out of field goal range. He'll have to be sharper in the coming weeks, when the competition will be better. The offense was brutal in the red zone (1-for-4), thanks to penalties. Chris Ivory bailed them out with a 71-yard touchdown, the second-longest scoring run in Jets history.

Opening jitters: The Jets were tight and undisciplined for much of the game, as they committed just about every mistake in the book. There were two turnovers by Smith, a dropped pass in the end zone by Greg Salas and a dropped interception by rookie Calvin Pryor, who probably would've returned it for a touchdown. And, of course, there were penalties, lots of them: 11 for 105 yards. You know things are sloppy when the Jets finish with more penalties than the notoriously undisciplined Raiders.

Cutting corners: The patchwork secondary held up well, as the replacement cornerbacks -- Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen -- didn't commit any major gaffes until Walls surrendered a 30-yard touchdown with 1:21 left in the game. Until then, it went as well as could be expected, considering it was Walls' fifth career start and Allen's first at cornerback. They tackled very well in the open field, which was huge against the Raiders' screen-heavy offense. They weren't threatened on the outside by the Raiders' pedestrian cast of receivers. We all know it'll be a different story for the next few weeks, when they face legitimate passing attacks.

Vick package fizzles: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg got too cute inside the Raiders' 6, twice inserting Michael Vick as a wide receiver. On the first play, Smith lost a fumble while scrambling. On the second, Vick missed a wide-open Eric Decker in the end zone after getting the ball on an end-around. Clearly, Ryan wants to keep Vick involved in the offense, but there's a time and place for it. You could almost hear the groan from the Tim Tebow-scarred fans whenever Vicks trots on the field.

Game ball: The Jets' defensive line. Motivated by a quote from former teammate Austin Howard, who said last week the Raiders were going to push around the Jets, the defensive line held them to 25 rushing yards, tipped three passes and recorded a sack.

What's next: The Jets (1-0) hit the road to face the Green Bay Packers (0-1).

Jets light on DBs vs. Raiders

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
12:00
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Anticipating a heavy ground attack by the Oakland Raiders, the New York Jets dressed six defensive linemen and only seven defensive backs for Sunday's season opener at MetLife Stadium.

Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) and recently acquired cornerback Leon McFadden are inactive, meaning only four corners are in uniform: starters Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen, plus backups Kyle Wilson and newly signed Phillip Adams. Josh Bush (quad) is inactive, so they're carrying only Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor and Jaiquawn Jarrett at safety.

Defensive tackle T.J. Barnes, a former practice-squad player who made the team after a strong preseason, is active. That gives the Jets six big bodies, an indication they expect the Raiders to feature Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece. The heat also could be a factor, giving Rex Ryan a six-man rotation up front.

Other inactives: Wide receiver Walt Powell, linebacker IK Enemkpali, guard Dakota Dozier and tackle Ben Ijalana.

For the Raiders, the news is that middle linebacker Nick Roach (concussion) is inactive. Miles Burris will replace him in the starting lineup. Their other inactives are wide receiver Brice Butler, quarterback Matt McGloin, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, guard Tony Bergstrom, tackle Matt McCants and defensive end Shelby Harris.
Rex Ryan, set to begin his sixth season as head coach of the New York Jets, gave ESPN.com a few minutes this week to discuss his longevity, his expectations for the season and the ever-present coaching hot seat:

It's hard to believe, but you have the third-longest tenure in the Jets' coaching history, behind Weeb Ewbank (11 seasons) and Joe Walton (seven). How does that make you feel?

Ryan
Ryan: Man, I just gotta keep going. I may catch Weeb (laughs). But part of it is, you want to do that. But I recognize that we have to be pretty darn good for that to ever happen. I'm confident. But that's not why I took this job, anyway. I'm happy to get the opportunity, but I want what everybody else wants, what every Jets fan wants. That's what I want.

Which is?

Ryan: You know what that is. I want to be a champion, there's no question. You don't work the way you work, do all those types of things and collect this group of men to be satisfied with anything other than chasing that. Will we catch it? I don't know, but we're darn sure going to work for it.

You finished on an upswing last season and made some solid moves in the offseason, yet none of the prognosticators are taking the Jets seriously. Why is that?

Ryan: I think they look at the numbers last year. Most of it is driven by quarterback ratings and by the points you give up. We know we're better. If you finished how this team finished ... with seven new starters on offense, seven new starters on defense, it was kind of a work in progress. But the last month of the season gives me ... Look, I know what it's going to look like. We know, as a football team, how we win. We know if we get turnovers on defense and we protect the football, and make some plays, that's a great combination for us.

A year ago at this time, you were considered Dead Coach Walking.

Ryan: I'm still pretty much dead (laughs).

Joking aside, you got a contract extension after the season. Do you feel more secure than a year ago? If so, why?

Ryan: Yes, because of the team I'm coaching. That's the big thing. I don't care what's out there or anything else. All I know is, I'm coaching this team right now and that's the opportunity I need. I don't need anything else but that opportunity, and that's what I believe. That's all I need.

ESPN Stats moved an interesting statistic. Since the merger in 1970, only three teams have missed the playoffs for three straight years after going to back-to-back conference championship games: the Colts (1972-1974), the Dolphins (1986-1989) and you guys. Does that bother you?

Ryan: It doesn't do anything for me. We know where we want to get to. All that stuff ... two title runs and three years with no playoffs, that's all in the past. We're focused on the right now -- the present and the future. If we worry about our past, we'll never handle the present -- and the present is the Oakland Raiders. I always have the dreams of this or that, but the reality is, it's all about the preparation for this one opponent. As we say, we're not trying to eat the whole elephant today.

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