Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rex backs coaches: Struggles 'not a scheme thing'


Poor third-down defense, costly mistakes on special teams and a stagnant offense has the New York Jets at 3-5 and dangerously close to being completely out of the playoff picture.

For Jets coach Rex Ryan, it's about execution, not preparation.

"If we’re giving up a blocked punt, it’s not a scheme thing, you have to step up and block," Ryan told the media Monday. "We’ve given up two punt blocks on special teams — that's really uncharacteristic. We gave up the blocked field goal, different things that we don’t normally do."

"On defense it’s the same thing." (photo: Marianne O'Leary, flickr)

Ryan has a point with special teams. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff is regarded as one of the best assistants in the game, and if you watch him coach, he does everything in his power to prepare his team. His players haven't executed this year.

Defensively, Ryan pretty much runs the show and has almost never had a bad defense under him in his career. Coordinator Mike Pettine has been good in his short career "running" the defense.

But offense is a different story. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has run a mostly unimaginative scheme and has made questionable play-call on top of questionable play-call. Much of the Jets' offensive shortcomings can be blamed on scheme.

Ryan thinks he's equipped with the right team of coaches.

"I will say this: I’m happy that I’m surrounded with the people I’m surrounded by, the coaching staff, Mike Westhoff, Mike Pettine, and Tony [Sparano] and these guys that we have," he said. "This is a great coaching staff. I’m just happy that I have this group of men to face this challenge."

Ryan is pretty safe for next year, Pettine has been good enough to stick around, and Westhoff will only leave on his own terms. Sparano, however, needs to show something over the last eight games.

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