Curran: All Jets can do is own up to train-wreck season


Curran: All Jets can do is own up to train-wreck season

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets starting quarterback ran into an offensive linemans ass with his face.
And fumbled. And that fumble was returned for a touchdown. On national television. In prime time.
And the Jets explanation, supplied by their head coach?
Thats probably the first mistake hes made giving a handoff all season . . . Again, guys, its a one-in-a-zillion play. Im not sure what happened on it, but thats the reality of the play. In my opinion, its the first time that hes made that mistake all season.
So the starting quarterback and former fifth overall pick was due to run face-first into an ass. He was on borrowed time. We all knew it was coming
Well, I guess thats owning it.
This is where the Jets are. This is what theyve become. A cornucopia of absurd. Given the tenor of the Rex Ryan Era in New York, we could have imagined his End of Days on the Jets sideline would be spectacular, but this was too, too much.
A 49-19 loss to the Patriots in which the Patriots scored 35 second-quarter points and 21 points in 52 seconds.
In less than a minute, the Jets did things the Patriots dont do in five seasons. And if any one of those things happened on Bill Belichicks watch, you can be pretty sure he wouldnt be saying, Guys, weve all seen quarterbacks smash their faces off the guards hindquarters and drop the ball, havent we? Whats the big deal? Guys still are giving it every ounce. Theyre bleeding for me. And Im . . . Im bleeding for them.
No. One thinks not.
After this win that lifted the Patriots record to 8-3, I could have gone to hear what they had to say. But the Jets have an irresistible pull. Like a freak show. You know youre going to feel bad looking at it, but something makes you want to see just how bizarre it really is.
Step right up, step inside, you wont believe your ears or your eyes as the Amazing Shrinking Coach defines his quarterbacks night.
Mark . . . he had a 94 quarterback rating, said Ryan. I thought Mark threw the ball well.
Right into the arms of Patriots safety Steve Gregory in the first quarter to snuff a would-be Jets scoring drive. Just the sixth red-zone turnover of the season for Sanchez.
Ryan defends Sanchez by saying hes not the sole reason the Jets are 4-7. And hes not. Its the program. Its the lip service offered week-in, week-out in which the Jets own their mistakes, pledge to stop making them, promise to give it their all, and then play rudderless football.
On the Patriots first touchdown, the Jets had three defenders in the end zone covering two Patriots receivers on a play that started at the New York 3-yard line. Two of the defenders went to one receiver, another covered air and Wes Welker scored without a defender in arms reach.
On the Patriots second touchdown, a pitch to the flat to Shane Vereen that turned into an 83-yard touchdown . . . well let Antonio Cromartie explain it.
Some calls we got into, they knew what coverage we were in, he explained. Like on the wheel route, our inside linebacker Bart Scott was supposed to take that but its hard for him to take that when hes too far inside and the running back slides out. Some of the calls that we got into put a hardship on us. . . . We shoulda gone for another scheme and I shoulda put a safety on the wheel and put Bart on the inside guy on the curl route.
It was Cromartie, Eric Smith and Scott involved in that play. Thats 25 years of NFL experience between them.
But, well, hindsights 20-20 and theyll do better next time.
Theres a big whiteboard in the hallway leading to the Jets locker room.
On it were these words.
Do Your Job Execute
One Play At a Time
The only two things satisfied on that list were the last two and they were applied by the Patriots.
The Jets have been non-competitive in several games this season. 27-10 loss to the Steelers. 34-0 against the Niners. 30-9 against the Dolphins. 28-7 against the Seahawks. And Thursday night.
Were about as wounded as we can possibly be, but were not dead, said Ryan.
I can tell you this: we will give everything we have, every ounce of energy we have to get this thing going. Thats from a coaching standpoint as well as the players. If not, then well make adjustments.
Its getting a little late for if, then. At some point, someones going to pry Woody Johnsons attention away from his yo-yo and point out that his billion-dollar investment is rotting.
And then? One has to figure an uncomfortable housecleaning will ensue.
I asked Ryan if he expects to be coaching the Jets in 2013.
I do, he answered. I think our team will play a heck of a lot better and I dont believe anybody will ask that question by the time the years over.
They may not be asking it because the answer may be very clear by then.

Patriots need to tackle better vs. Bills this time


Patriots need to tackle better vs. Bills this time

FOXBORO -- In their meeting with the Bills last month, the Patriots missed a fleet of tackles on both LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor in part enabling Buffalo to hold the ball for 12 more minutes than New England.Certainly, there were other factors at play that day but the ability of both Taylor and McCoy to make guys miss aided the Bills early on third down.“Some of our problems (in the first meeting) were directly related to that,” explained Devin McCourty on Friday. “We can talk about wanting to do a bunch of stuff but if we don’t fix that we’ll still have some of the same issues. I think some of that game was just missing a tackle. It’s something we work on daily. It was just a matter of not executing. It’s not going to get any easier, they have a lot of tough guys to bring down.”McCoy didn’t practice all week because of a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful for this game. But the Patriots will still be dealing with Taylor and McCoy’s shifty backup Mike Gillislee. Last week, New England did a good -- not great -- job of holding down Steelers’ back LeVeon Bell.The key, McCourty said, is leverage as a tackler. Positioning your body so that the ball carrier is funneled to where the defensive help is.  “Just knowing where your help is, knowing where your help is coming from (is what leverage) is all about,” he explained. “More to the point tackling wise is getting all 11 guys to the ball. I think if that becomes our focus missing a tackle won’t be as big if we’ve got three or four guys behind us to help us.“(Leverage) is something we always talk about but when you play against really good open-field players like a Reggie Bush or a LeSean McCoy, (Mike) Gillislee or Tyrod Taylor, this is what they do week in and week out, we need to get more guys to the ball to help out.”The Bills have done a good job offensively in recent weeks of scheming things to stress defenses and get their best skill players in space.“Between the wildcat, the unbalanced line, the kind of two different option packages, that’s kind of what they force you to (prepare for),” Bill Belichick explained Friday. “They sprinkle those plays in, they make you work on them, but they also have I’d say some of the more conventional plays but they also have the speed sweeps and things like that, reverses and quarterback runs that are wildcat runs but it’s a quarterback that actually runs the ball instead of a running back or wildcat guy."So they have a lot of things like that that force you to make adjustments even though they’re essentially running the same play but they get to it in different ways. Again, whether you want to call them wildcat, unbalanced line, option, but all of those things; they all kind of fall into the same category. And with them you’re not going to see anything like 30 times. You’re going to see they have five of these, six of these, five of these, six of these, maybe eight of something else, maybe two of something else. But that’s kind of what they do. It definitely stretches you and forces you to prepare for those things that you’re going to get a handful of times in the game. You might get them more if you don’t stop them but that’s what they do and they’re pretty successful at that because they do force teams to eat up a lot of practice time working on things they’re going to see only a couple of times but then they’re on to something else.”In the end, despite the practice reps and fundamentals stressed, the ability of the players carrying out the plays has to be dealt with.  “You always practice that stuff but when you have LeSean McCoy coming at you, you know you have good leverage, he knows you have good leverage and he knows how to play to that,” McCourty explained. “That’s what’s hard. These players in this league who are very good at making guys miss and LeSean McCoy excels at that.”McCoy might be a scratch Sunday and that will be a bullet dodged. But the Patriots will still need to do a better job tackling this time around to ensure a better result.  

Celtics bench hurting with Smart out


Celtics bench hurting with Smart out

The Boston Celtics don’t reveal a ton about what happens behind their closed-door practices, but there were a couple of significant narratives that developed in the preseason.

Chief among them was the development of the bench which on many occasions, outplayed the starters.

Leading the second team surge on many days in the preseason was Marcus Smart, whose absence during the first two games of the season has been obvious.

Smart suffered a left ankle sprain injury in the Celtics’ final preseason game, an injury that reported at the time would sideline him for a couple of weeks.

A few days later, Smart confirmed the report by indicating he would be out of action for two weeks from the time of the injury.

That puts his return to the floor being Nov. 3 at Cleveland which would mean he would be missing the first four games of the season.

One of the reasons why the second unit had so much success against the starters, was the rhythm they developed playing with and off one another.

Trying to re-establish that on the fly without Smart has proven to be challenging at times for Boston’s second unit.

In the season-opening win over Brooklyn, Boston’s second unit was called upon to simply hold down a lead in the fourth quarter that peaked at 23. But the lead steadily shrunk and head coach Brad Stevens was forced to bring his starters back into the game.

And last night at Chicago, the second unit was never able to deliver the kind of impact-making plays that Boston’s backups can do.

But it goes beyond what Smart can do on the floor when he plays. Like most of his teammates, Smart’s presence has a way of allowing his other teammates to get into a rhythm and get accustomed to whatever role they are asked to play.

Without him, everyone’s job shifts just a little bit.

“They’re trying to figure it out on the fly,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “They had a few practices, maybe one tough day of practice without him; it’s tough. They’re trying to figure it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in the game.”