REX CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTHBy Ian Begley
Hey, Rex Ryan: The truth hurts, doesn't it?
Joe Namath was right. Your team wasn't prepared to play Sunday.
Just ask Jim Leonhard.
"We didn't come out ready to play; there's no doubt about it," the veteran safety told reporters after a 34-24 loss in Oakland.
Namath backed that assertion Monday on ESPN New York 1050 radio, saying the Jets were overconfident and underprepared when they took the field.
"There's one thing about the athlete: You keep telling him how good he is, he's going to start believing it to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should. He may be losing some respect for the other team," Namath said.
I'm not here to debate whether all of Rex's braggadocio has the Jets overconfident; I'm not going to pretend that I know what's going on inside the minds of the Jets players. That would be silly.
But I can say with a degree of certainty that the Jets weren't ready to play in the first quarter on Sunday. Anyone who saw the Raiders' opening drive knew that.
Oakland ran a bunch of no-huddle plays, marching 76 yards in just five plays in the first quarter. The drive was capped by Darren McFadden's 2-yard score. Those were two of 234 rushing yards the Jets gave up on the ground Sunday, the most in Ryan's two-plus-year tenure.
So maybe that's why Ryan was a bit salty when he heard Namath's critique.
"I'm not gonna change who I am because Joe Namath said something," Ryan said Monday.
He's right. He shouldn't change what he does based on the criticism of outsiders. But he should listen to a pointed critique from Leonhard, one of his favorite players.
"When a team comes out and goes 77 yards that quickly, you weren't ready," Leonhard said.
A true statement whether it comes from Jim Leonhard or Joe Namath. And the truth hurts. Right, Rex?
STOP IT, JOE 'SILLY' NAMATHBy Mike Mazzeo
Rex Ryan won't change just because Joe Namath criticized his team's preparation.
And why should he?
In Ryan's first two season as head coach, he's taken the Jets to two AFC Championship Games. And despite getting off to a somewhat "rocky" start this year, Gang Green sit at 2-1.
Two and one!
The Jets' defense couldn't stop a nosebleed against Oakland on Sunday, and there is still a ton of work to be done. But again, it's only one loss, "a bend in the road, not the end of the road," as Ryan put it.
One loss, Broadway Joe.
Thirteen games remain in the season, yet Namath was talking as though the Jets had just been eliminated from playoff contention.
Namath would be better off shutting his mouth and letting Ryan run his.
At times, Ryan can sound cocky and arrogant. But most of those times, he backs up his words.
"I'm confident with our football team," Ryan said. "There's no question about it. And I've told you this many times, I've never gone into a game that I didn't think I'd win. I haven't won them all, but I certainly think we can."
And usually the Jets have. Why? Because they're prepared. How else do you go 4-2 in AFC playoff road games in the past two seasons?
It isn't luck, that's for sure.
Now the Jets have to move on and prepare for Baltimore. Their run defense has been atrocious, currently ranked 31st. That needs to change -- fast.
But Ryan knows this. And if there's anyone who can get the unit back on track, it's him.
As Ryan said, Joe "Willie" Namath was once a Jet and always will be a Jet. But Namath is not a member of this team.
Ryan said that Namath, 68, is welcome at practice anytime -- and joked that if Namath can still sling it, he could compete to be Sanchez's backup.
Sounds simple: Show up or shut up.