Instead of focusing on real football issues in Monday's team meeting, Rex Ryan was in damage control, addressing two issues from Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins.
First, there was TripGate. Ryan updated the players on the Sal Alosi debacle, asking them to rally around the embattled strength-and-conditioning coach, according to team sources. Maybe it's the nature of his job, always kicking players in the rear, but Alosi isn't a beloved figure in the Jets' locker room. He's had issues with some players, as Ryan noted in his address, but the coach asked the players to overlook that stuff and support Alosi.
(Side note: Because the team meeting occurred a few hours before Alosi's penalty was announced, you have to think Ryan knew the punishment wouldn't be termination.)
In that same meeting, Ryan also addressed Shaun Ellis' comments to the New York Post, sources said. Ellis apparently took Ryan's post-game, locker-room speech the wrong way, thinking Ryan blamed the defense for the 10-6 loss.
"According to Rex, we played [bleepy]," Ellis told the newspaper. "He said we weren’t good enough. I guess we needed a shutout. I guess that’s what he was talking about ... It’s frustrating to hear that because we played a solid game. I guess he just expects so much out of the defense that there should have been zero points on the board, not 10.”
It was reported that the defensive players, upset with Ryan's comments, bolted after the game before the media arrived. In fact, a couple of players left, but several stuck around. One player said he didn't detect any ill will toward Ryan, indicating that the locker-room comments never became an issue among players.
Nevetheless, Ryan felt compelled to talk about it to his players, explaining that he wasn't ripping his defense, sources said. He reminded them of his background with the Baltimore Ravens, where they once went several weeks without an offensive touchdown and still won a Super Bowl (2000) because of the defense. Basically, he was trying to make nice.
(Another side note: On Monday, the defense did bolt the locker room without speaking with the media. Reporters weren't around when the defense returned to the locker room after meetings -- the Alosi news conference/sympathy appeal happened simultaneously -- but the Alosi presser lasted only five minutes. By then, the defensive players were long gone, apparently none too interested in discussing things with reporters.)