One of the lowest points last season for the New York Jets was their 49-9 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals, a start-to-finish beat down that dropped them to 4-4. They return to Cincinnati on Saturday night, and at least one player is looking for payback.
"We owe them one," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson told the Jets' website. "We owe them one big time." He also said, "That was pretty much the only team that dog-walked this defense like that."
Whoa, big fella, it's only the preseason. If the Jets win, they won't be flaunting the revenge card. If anyone does, they will look silly. It's only the second preseason game, a time for evaluating players and building chemistry. Few will remember the result by the end of the summer.
Rex Ryan downplayed the redemption angle, but he admitted he'd like to play well. Call it pride.
"You know, did we get our tails kicked last time we were up there? We absolutely did," he said. "I think the competitor in you -- from a coach, from a player -- you don’t like that. The fact that we have a lot of guys, however many guys are playing, it’s a little different feel. Obviously, preseason guys are trying to win jobs. It’s not just about the team or whatever. I mean, I don’t know if it is more motivation, but you certainly want to account for yourself better than we did the last time."
There's an interesting back story to Jets-Bengals: Ryan confirmed there were serious discussions before training camp about holding joint practices in Cincinnati during the run-up to the game. Joint practices are becoming popular around the league. The concern, of course, is that practicing for a few days against another team will lead to fights.
Ryan doesn't think it would've been an issue, saying the mutual respect between him and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis would've set an upbeat tone on the practice field. Then again, if the Jets have a chip on their shoulder because of last season's blowout, as Richardson's quote suggests, the temperature would've been higher than usual. From what I hear, some of the Jets' veteran leaders lobbied Ryan to pass on the invitation, citing that very reason.
Ryan didn't rule out a joint practice in the future.
"As long as it’s not just Fight Night," he said. "I remember my dad went down in some epic Eagles versus Falcons [practices]. In between all of the fights, they snapped the ball a few times. Those are things you don’t want. "