The Rundown: Don’t Look For Signs of Life in the Locker Room

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

One of NASA’s key goals is to discover life in distant and remote locations.  On their next mission, I propose they look for signs of life in the Jets locker room because there was NONE to be found yesterday after the game.  In classic Rex fashion, he’s given them an unprecedented amount of time off during their bye week in a season where they’ve looked worse at the bye than they have at any preceding season under his tenure.

Rich Cimini describes the way too serene vibe of the abbatoir after yesterday’s game.

There was no anger, not even from Rex Ryan, who looked and sounded like a beaten man. Defiant Rex was nowhere to be found. His players, the ones who stuck around to talk to the media, appeared dead and/or dumbfounded by the 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at MetLife Stadium — arguably the most inexplicable defeat of the Ryan era.

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[Rex Ryan] talked about the great week of practice. OK, so crown them the champions of Florham Park. That kind of talk is hollow. The paying customers don’t want to hear about crisp practices. As Bill Parcells used to say, don’t talk about the labor, show me the baby.

During the press conference, the most indignation Rex showed was his standard-issue body language.  Rex grasped the podium tightly and after explaining how the Dolphins were the “better team,” his lower jaw slid forward, protruding in the most defiance he or his team could muster all day.

It’s a pitiful form of protest and we’ve seen if from Rex now in at least three games in the last five weeks.  The truth is, aside from some bewildering misses by Dan Carpenter in the first matchup of the season, the Dolphins were the better team in that game too.  The Jets just happened to fall backwards into that win.

The Jets had no answers and no life the whole game.  The normally airtight special teams unit was a shambles, the defense was put in tough spots all day, and the offense wasn’t even flat — it was actually inverted.  The Jets offense had to go seven series (3-and-out, blocked punt, fumble, 3-and-out, 3-and-out, 3-and-out, blocked field goal) before scoring their first three points of the game.

It boggles my mind that a team who had built momentum over the last three preceding weeks would let it evaporate so quickly.  The Reggie Bush punch/stiff-arm and the ensuing personal foul by Cromartie was an encapsulation of the day, and set the tone for the rest of the contest.

So what does a coach do to get his players to refocus?  On the SNY postgame broadcast, Ray Lucas shared a story about how Bill Parcells came into the locker room after a similar loss, said “no one’s job is safe” and then walked out.

The rational expectation is that the Jets coach might do something out of the normal to get his players attention, but with a storm literally brewing and players allowed four rest days by CBA rule, Rex isn’t doing anything he hasn’t done before actually he’s going further.

Realistically, he could change course and tell them to arrive at the facility ready to work Friday, but of course that didn’t happen.  I even predicted what Ryan would do last night before the game was even over and he had a chance to address the matter publicly.

And that’s exactly what he did.  He gave his players something he’s never done before as a coach, he gave them a full SEVEN days off.

The players have a full week off, Rex Ryan announced after Sunday’s 30-9 loss to the Dolphins. The next practice is a week from Monday. Ryan said he had planned to work them Monday and Tuesday, but he changed because of Hurricane Sandy.

“I care about our players a great deal,” he said. “They need that time to be with their families and make sure everybody is out of harm’s way. As much as I’d like to bring them in, that’s not going to happen. I care about our players too much to see them go through that, so they will not be in.”

Every hero has a fatal flaw and if you didn’t know Rex Ryan’s you sure do now. In that statement, Rex has betrayed his biggest problem as a head coach.  He’s too emotionally attached to his players.  He cares for his players “too much” of his own admission.  Rex cares too much to inconvenience his players and their families.  Rex is still distractedly waiting for Reggie Bush’s apology to Darrelle Revis.

Rex is too emotionally attached to a quarterback who hasn’t shown enough, now over a three and a half year period, to earn the blind loyalty of his coach no matter who the backup is.

I’m not a coach and I would never suppose to be one, but it’s starting to drive me insane that Rex thinks that indulging his guys is routinely the right move.  Given the same situation, I would basically tell the players to forget whatever their bye week plans were.  Going to see your mom?  I don’t f***ing care about her.  Heading to Hawaii for a few days with the wife?  I hope she enjoys the trip with her best friend.   Want a few extra days to get loose in the city?  Enjoy it, because your job won’t be here for you when you return from your bender.

But then again, maybe Rex is right.

If they practice really well all week like we’re told they did leading up to the game and the results resemble the steaming heap we saw yesterday, then why not let them give them extra time off?

At least they might “care too much” for their coach in return.