Gloomy Jets desperate for win

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Michael Vick has been in the league 12 seasons, and he can't remember playing on a team during a stretch this bad.

The New York Jets (1-5) have dropped five straight – with three of those games at home -- and have two practice days to prepare to face the New England Patriots on the road. During this skid, starting quarterback Geno Smith cursed out a fan and missed a team meeting. Coach Rex Ryan has said he expects to lose his job if the team can’t save the season.

Vick, the Jets’ backup quarterback, is a veteran -- but he's new to this.

"First time in my career," said Vick, who started the first five games of the Philadelphia Eagles’ eight-game skid in 2012. "So I'm fighting through it just like everybody else. It's a first time for everything and in that situation you just have to figure it out."

That doesn't necessarily mean he's clamoring to start, however. "I'm happy with my role," Vick said Monday. "But you always wish it could be more or you could do more to help."

He is no more baffled than veteran Jets center Nick Mangold. Earlier in the day, Ryan confirmed this was the low point of his coaching career. Could Mangold say the same?

"It's definitely up there," Mangold said. "Having a five-game skid is not fun for anybody and it's definitely not what you expect. Had some difficult times through the nine years and this is definitely up there."

On Monday, the team placed top cornerback Dee Milliner and left guard Brian Winters on the injured reserve list. The team is extremely thin at corner after losing to Peyton Manning and the Broncos 31-17, and have another future Hall of Famer in Tom Brady coming up.

It all makes for a quiet and gloomy locker room.

"It's tough right now," right guard Willie Colon said. "We've got to find a way to stop the bleeding. ... A lot of issues we're going through are self-inflicted."

One player who seems undeterred by the losing? Smith. Last week, he was fined $12,000 for cursing at a fan following a loss to Detroit. The moment was caught on camera. The next week he missed a meeting in San Diego.

"We obviously all take on the mantra and the demeanor of our head coach, and he's a very, very confident guy," Smith said.

Apparently, Smith didn't get the memo about it being the worst stretch of Ryan's career. But there are other forms of motivation available. Colon found one in the fact this is Patriots week. Last year, Colon was ejected from the game at Gillette Stadium after a brawl.

"The only motivation is that it is the Patriots," Colon said. "We know the rivalry and how much we dislike them. They're playing good football and we need a victory in the worst way. It's going to be a tough challenge and we have to get it done."

There is also the fact that, despite a 1-5 start, the team hasn't yet faced a division opponent. The Patriots look mortal this season, but that doesn't mean the Jets as currently constituted can beat them. Wide receiver David Nelson missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury, and receiver Greg Salas didn't practice with a wrist injury.

"There's plenty more football to be played, it's not like we're out of anything yet," said newly acquired wide receiver T.J. Graham. "We start our division games, which count as two wins when you win. We're not looking at it the wrong way. It's not half empty, it's half full."