AFC East: New York Jets

Indoor game vs. Bills suits Jets

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Chris Johnson, the New York Jets veteran running back, expressed what many of the Jets were feeling when they heard the divisional game against the Bills was moving indoors to Detroit’s Ford Field on Monday night.

"Big relief," Johnson said with a cagey smile.

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley echoed the sentiment.

"I was happy, playing inside," Kerley said. "It’ll be warmer inside, we won’t be dealing with the cold weather, hopefully no wind. A better game on both sides."

Jets coach Rex Ryan said the NFL didn’t consult the team when relocating the game, but Ryan said they would have played any time and anywhere. The team held practice indoors on Friday once learning of the venue.

"We’re just happy to play, but for a guy like Mike Vick, Chris Johnson, Percy (Harvin), sure they want the ideal conditions -- they would love to have that. So, on one hand your skill players on offense are excited, but your defense is like, 'Where’s the snow, where’s the wind?'"

There was at least one report that the Bills wanted an outdoor venue to test veteran quarterback Michael Vick in the elements.


"Yes, that would have been tough for me," Vick allowed. "But we’ve still got to go out there and get it done. It’s just going to be a faster track. But who knows, I might not even run that day, it all depends on what the game dictates, but I’m always looking to apply pressure to the defense."

Offensive lineman Willie Colon wasn’t so sure Vick would have faired poorly in cold or snow.

"He just came from Philly," Colon said. "It wasn’t like he was in Atlanta his whole career. He had to deal with snow, he had to deal with rain."

But, like many of the Jets, Colon felt like the NFL was able to come to a fair solution for both teams.

"It’s a neutral position for both teams," Colon said. "It’s a fast track, we’ve got speed guys, they’ve got speed guys. We’ve just got to execute."

The Bills will travel from snowy Buffalo to Detroit Friday night and practice, and the Jets will have a walk through Saturday and Sunday. Ryan said there will be some conditioning work for the players to keep them fresh for the Monday night game.

"You know that the league never wanted to move the game, so obviously the conditions have to be incredible," Ryan said.

Running back Bilal Powell noted that the situation was unusual, and balanced being glad to play indoors with the seriousness of what the Buffalo community is going through.

"Playing indoors around this time is always a plus," Powell said. "But that’s a disaster up there, that’s chaos up there. Pray that they get (to Detroit) safely."

Colon said he was glad the league didn’t try to move the game to Tuesday on a short Thanksgiving week with Miami coming up. You need time to prepare for the next opponent -- and heal.

"Especially for recovery purposes," Colon said.

The game will be broadcast by CBS and available on DirecTV’s Sunday ticket package on channel 706. The NFL is still considering options for ticket sales and distribution.

"No excuses, here we come," Ryan said.

Bills vs. Jets preview

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
video When: 7 p.m. ET Monday. Where: Ford Field, Detroit. TV: CBS.

It's Monday night football in Motown.

After several feet of snow were dumped on the Buffalo area this week, the snowed-in Buffalo Bills (5-5) will dig out Friday and shift their operation to Michigan in advance of Monday's rescheduled game against the New York Jets (2-8).

While the Jets are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Bills are desperate for a victory after dropping their past two games. ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak and ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini break it all down:

Rodak: How has this affected the Jets' preparation? What has been their reaction to all of this?

Cimini: This has been a normal week for the Jets. Cynics might say there's no such thing, but you get my drift. They practiced outdoors on Wednesday and Thursday, thinking the game would be at Ralph Wilson Stadium. On Friday, they practiced in the field house, knowing, of course, the game will be indoors at Ford Field. With the extended week, the plan is to have two "Saturday" practices -- one Saturday, one Sunday. A Saturday practice is a light workout, basically a walk-through. Rex Ryan says he wants to keep the players' legs fresh. I don't know why that would be a concern, considering they're coming off the bye week.

I guess the obvious question is, how has the storm affected the Bills' preparation?

Rodak: It's been a week unlike any other for the Bills. Most coaches were able to make it to the facility at some point Monday night or Tuesday, and have slept there since. Players, on the other hand, have been stuck at home. Team president Russ Brandon estimated that 85 percent of players live in the towns south of Buffalo, the area hit hardest by the storm. They've been able to receive film and game plans on their iPads from the coaching staff, but that obviously isn't the same as being at practice and seeing the scout team's looks on the field. Getting to Detroit for some players will be a challenge; wide receiver Chris Hogan tweeted Friday morning that he had to walk to the stadium. However many players the Bills are able to round up, they'll hold a practice Friday evening and perhaps another over the weekend. That will put them on somewhat of a normal schedule heading into Monday night's game.

Does moving this game favor the Jets? Do you anticipate that they'll tweak the game plan?

Cimini: When Chris Johnson found out Detroit was a possible site for the game, he called over to Michael Vick in the locker room, excitedly telling him they could be playing indoors. Makes sense, right? Fast guys want to play on a fast track, especially indoors.

I absolutely believe this works in the Jets' favor. Not only do the Bills lose their home-field advantage, but now they have to defend Vick in a climate-controlled environment. Vick doesn't like bad conditions. I remember one day in training camp, when he had a brutal practice in rainy, windy and unseasonably cool conditions. I'm sure he's thrilled to be going to Ford Field. Yes, they could tweak the game plan. Why not? I would think they'd try to force-feed the ball to Percy Harvin, who has the speed to cause problems for the Bills' defense.

Are the Bills upset the league put this game indoors?

Rodak: I think the Bills are just happy that they're able to play this game, period. Of the three sites that ESPN's Adam Schefter reported were in play Thursday, two of them -- Washington and Pittsburgh -- had natural grass fields. So the feeling here is that the Bills are happy this game is being played on an artificial, indoor surface where field conditions won't be a factor. This is the second time the Bills played in Ford Field this season; the last was a Week 5 win over the Lions. Sammy Watkins caught seven passes for 87 yards in that game, a reflection of how the faster surface could benefit the Bills' passing game.

What's the outlook for the Jets the rest of this season? Was last week's win over the Steelers a fluke or are there encouraging signs that they could turn things around?

Cimini: I'd say it was a mix -- some encouraging signs and some stuff I’d characterize as lucky. Offensively, the Jets are taking baby steps. They’re three games into the Harvin experiment and, while I wouldn’t call him a game-changing player, he has brought balance to the passing game, forcing opponents to respect both sides of the field. Vick, too, has helped. Unlike Geno Smith, Vick isn’t a turnover machine -- two straight games without committing one. He’s a steadying presence, if not a prolific passer. Vick and Harvin are reasons the offense has hope. Defensively, I’m not sure how they managed to slow down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. I mean, their cornerbacks were Marcus Williams and Phillip Adams and they received an out-of-nowhere, career game from Jaiquawn Jarrett. I don’t think the secondary will be able to sustain it for the remainder of the season; it’s just not good enough.

So, what happened to the Bills' offense?

Rodak: There are unconfirmed reports that it fled to the Caribbean to avoid the impending snow in Buffalo.

The Bills haven't scored a touchdown in 21 consecutive drives, dating back to the first possession of their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. As Doug Marrone astutely pointed out earlier this week, the Bills' "main problem is scoring." That's broad, obviously, but the offense hasn't been able to do too much right the past two weeks, and to a lesser extent, since the beginning of the season. With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both injured, the Bills haven't been able to get much going with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. That duo combined for zero yards on five carries in the second half of last Thursday's loss. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton's Total QBR is sinking lower and lower. His 38.7 QBR is ahead of only one quarterback who still has his starting job, and that's Blake Bortles (25.6).

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Buffalo Bills couldn't go to work Wednesday. Stuck at their homes because of a monster snowstorm, the players got cozy with their iPads, studying the game plan and game tape of the New York Jets. There was no practice.

Meanwhile, it was a typical day at One Jets Drive. The Jets attended classroom sessions with their coaches, practiced outdoors, lifted weights, dined in their really cool cafeteria and watched tape before heading home.

Thursday could be a repeat, with Western New York bracing for another storm.

Advantage for the Jets? Absolutely.

Allen Iverson's legendary rant notwithstanding -- "We're talking about practice; we ain't talking about the game" -- practice is important. Jets coach Rex Ryan tried to downplay it, claiming the two divisional foes know each other so well that "mental reps" are good enough, but don't believe that for a second. On-the-field preparation is vital and, unless the NFL decides to postpone Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills will be at a competitive disadvantage.

"Hope so," Ryan said, quickly adding, "No, I'm just kidding. I think the main thing, obviously, is everybody is safe up there."

[+] EnlargeRalph Wilson Stadium
Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SportsRalph Wilson Stadium, shown after a snowstorm in December 2008, must be prepared for an NFL game on Sunday. That might be a tall task based on the weather forecast, which calls for more snow.
This is shaping up as a no-win situation for Ryan and the Jets (2-8). If they beat the under-practiced Bills (5-5), the postgame narrative will be, "Well, what did you expect?" If the Jets lose to a team whose preparation was significantly impacted by the snow? Wow, it could be the final nail in Ryan's coaching coffin. We're not talking Jets-Patriots here. We're talking about teams with similar talent, so, yeah, coaching and preparation matter.

Naturally, Ryan was attempting to minimize the impact of lost practice.

"We know each other well, so how much the plan changes, probably not a whole lot," said Ryan, whose team lost to the Bills 43-23 less than a month ago. "They did force six turnovers on us the last time, so I don't know if they want to change that formula. I think it might be a bigger issue had you not just played your opponent. We just played three games ago or something, so I don't know how big an issue it is. Obviously, if the league thinks it's an issue, they may make an adjustment."

The league should push back the game to Monday or Tuesday if the Bills miss at least two full days of practice.

"I'm pretty sure they're not upset about it; I can promise you that," Michael Vick said, smiling.

What he meant was, players everywhere are banged-up at this stage of the season, and an extra day off or two could have a revitalizing effect. But, in his next breath, Vick noted that, yes, practice matters.

"No, practice is not overrated," he said, taking the anti-Iverson route. "I think the most important thing you can do is practice. You have to get a feel for timing, new concepts, new things you may be doing, and I think it's very critical. The last thing you want to do is miss a week of practice and come and try to play. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I just know how important it is."

Veteran linebacker Jason Babin suspects the Bills are "coaching remotely," meaning: "I'm sure they're on the email, they're sending videos to the guys and they're on their iPads."

The conditions are so bad in Western New York that driving is prohibited. Ryan said he hasn't seen any TV footage, but, "I understand it's pretty brutal." Geno Smith thought the area had received five or six inches of snow. When told it was four feet, he replied, "That's crazy."

The forecast for Sunday includes rain and temperatures in the 40s, which isn't bad. The question is whether the snow can be removed fast enough to hold a major sporting event.

"We'll be ready one way or the other, whatever the league says," Ryan said.

But will the Bills?

Week 12 practices: Jets 1, Bills 0

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- All things considered, it was a perfect day for practice.

Preparing for a trip this weekend to Buffalo, the New York Jets practiced outdoors Wednesday in chilly conditions, a good way to acclimate to what they might face Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Hey, at least they had a practice. In Orchard Park, New York, the Bills had to cancel theirs due to a driving ban on area roads, the result of a snowstorm that blanketed the town with four feet of snow. Another foot of snow is predicted for Thursday, so it will be interesting to see how it affects the Bills' preparations for the game. At 5-5, the Bills are on the periphery of playoff contention, so it's an important game.

The Bills say they're still planning to play Sunday as scheduled, a 1 p.m. kickoff.

In terms of injuries, the Jets appear healthy. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and tight end Jace Amaro returned to practice after taking a sick day Monday. Cornerback Darrin Walls (calf), who has missed the last two games, participated in the early portion of practice and could play Sunday. He'd probably start at corner with Marcus Williams.

No banners flying over Jets practice Tuesday

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What, no planes?

Not a one. There was nothing at all to disturb the New York Jets Tuesday morning at the first of their two bye-week practices.

Perhaps that means angry Jets fans were calmed just a touch by Sunday's 20-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. More likely, it's just the reality that you can't hire a plane every week, and this is -- after all -- the bye week. The Jets have practices Tuesday and Wednesday this week, then will have four days away from their mess of a season before they regroup to begin the serious work for the Nov. 23 game in Buffalo.

Coach Rex Ryan said the Jets would gear this week's two practices toward the younger players on the roster, but there were no obvious changes during the time Tuesday's practice was open to the media.
One last look at the New York Jets' 20-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers:

[+] EnlargeJaiquawn Jarrett
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsJaiquawn Jarrett made numerous big plays in the Jets' win over the Steelers on Sunday.
 1. J.J. was dyn-o-mite! Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett produced more big plays in a 14-play span, covering the late first to early-second quarter, than rookie Calvin Pryor did in the first nine games. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. In the end, Jarrett became the first Jets player to finish with two interceptions and a sack in one game (dating to 1982, when sacks became an official statistic). It allowed Rex Ryan to spin the safety swap as a promotion for Jarrett instead of a demotion for Pryor, whose tardiness for meetings had become a source of frustration within the organization.

Jarrett played every snap, didn't allow a completion and didn't miss any tackles. This is highly subjective, but Pro Football Focus, which evaluates every play, gave Jarrett the third-highest grade ever awarded to a safety.

Let's take a closer look at Jarrett's big plays:

The sack: On a third-and-15, the Jets were aggressive and rushed seven, including Jarrett, who came on a delayed blitz. Jarrett recognized that his man, tight end Heath Miller, stayed in to block, so he took the opportunity to rush Ben Roethlisberger.

The fumble recovery: On the first play of the Steelers' ensuing drive, Muhammad Wilkerson made a great play, stripping Antonio Brown on a bubble screen. Jarrett, providing over-the-top help on Brown, happened to be in the first place at the right time.

The first interception: On a second down from their 10, the Jets dropped eight into coverage, showing a two-deep safety look. Roethlisberger threw quickly to Martavis Bryant, but the pass was deflected by Marcus Williams, who made a nice reach-in. Jarrett reacted quickly, made a diving catch, jumped to his feet and returned it nine yards.

The second interception: Roethlisberger will get the blame for a terrible pass (and it was), but a look at the all-22 tape reveals that Jarrett showed terrrific instincts on the play. The Jets showed a Cover-2 look (more on that a little later), with Jarrett providing deep help for cornerback Phillip Adams. Jarrett, responsible for a deep half, was at the numbers on the left side of the defense. He read Roethlisberger's eyes and worked his way back to the middle, where Big Ben threw the ball to Markus Wheaton -- or shall we say "floated" the ball? Jarrett was there for the interception, but this wasn't another case of right-place, right-time. He got there because of his field awareness.

2. Rex reinvents his defense: This hasn't garnered much press (who can report on schemes when planes are circling the practice field?), but it's interesting to see how Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman have revamped the defensive scheme because of their shortcomings at cornerback. Before this season, the Jets were predominantly a single-high safety defense, relying on press-man coverage. Not anymore. They're playing more zone than ever, according to Ryan, also employing a heavy dose of two-high safety alignments. Previously, Ryan considered it an act of heresy, but he adapted to help his corners and to prevent big plays.

They used Jarrett and Dawan Landry in a two-deep look for a good portion of the game, limiting the Steelers' prolific passing attack to only one completion over 16 yards. That was Bryant's 80-yard touchdown late in the game, which, perhaps not coincidentally, came on a play in which the Jets had no safety in the deep post.

3. Odds and ends: The Jets allowed four sacks, but that's not reflective of the offensive line. Its pass protection was superb, as it allowed only three pressures, per Pro Football Focus. Vick contributed to the sacks by holding the ball and scrambling around. ... The offense went into a shell after a promising start. It produced 139 total yards on the first two drives, but only 136 after that. ... Vick's 67-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham traveled 56 air yards, from release to catch. It was a good call by coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who fooled the Steelers with a run look -- three tight ends and a play-fake to Chris Ivory. ... Adams allowed 174 of the Steelers' 343 passing yards, per PFF. ... Jeff Cumberland's receiving numbers have dropped, but he continued his solid play as a pass protector. ... Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples and Jason Babin combined for only one quarterback pressure in 54 snaps. ... On Jace Amaro's 5-yard touchdown catch, the Steelers dropped eight into coverage, including seven defenders in the end zone -- and managed to lose sight of Amaro.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For one day -- actually, the past few days -- Rex Ryan reminded everyone why he was so successful in 2009 and 2010. From the toy-helicopter stunt at practice to his final defensive stunt against Ben Roethlisberger, the New York Jets' coach navigated a difficult week and a tough opponent with the right blend of humor, fire and masterful X's and O's. It was vintage Rex.

Unfortunately for him, it's too late to save the season and probably too late to save his job.

On Sunday, the Jets stunned Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 to snap an eight-game losing streak, avoiding the first nine-game skid in team history -- an out-of-nowhere performance that will allow them to feel good over their bye week. For one afternoon at MetLife Stadium -- aka Heinz on the Hudson -- the Jets didn't stink. They didn't let Roethlisberger throw for five, six, seven touchdowns, as some predicted. They didn't let the many Pittsburgh fans in attendance take over the stadium.

Heck, the Jets actually created a turnover -- four of them, to be exact, including two interceptions by surprise starter Jaiquawn Jarrett.

"It's like we won the Super Bowl," said linebacker Calvin Pace, describing the mood inside the locker room.

Maybe this was their Super Bowl.

At 2-8, the Jets aren't going anywhere important. Maybe, if they can sustain this, they can split their remaining games and finish 5-11. It would cost them prime draft position and it wouldn't change the tenor of the season -- a failure. A five-win season with a 34-year-old Michael Vick at quarterback doesn't scream "Team on the rise!" There will be -- and should be -- sweeping changes.

"We're still in debt," guard Willie Colon, alluding to the ugly won-lost record.

Ryan, displaying his old, defiant self, said it would be a mistake to give up on his team, claiming that if you do, "You do so at your own risk, at your own peril." He may have been the happiest 2-8 coach in history, but we're not going to bash him for being so happy. He deserved this moment. After eight weeks of misery, he had every right to be in gush mode. He began his postgame news conference with a one-word sigh ("Finally"), and ended his opening statement three minutes later with, "Gosh, let me talk about the win again. It's been a while."

He should've taken a bow.

The Jets were under siege last week like no sports team in recent memory. The "Fire John Idzik" banner that was flown over their practice facility was embarrassing and stung the organization, especially since Idzik -- the general manager -- was there to witness it. Talk about awkward. Ryan diffused the situation by instructing a staffer from the video department to fly a toy helicopter at practice the next day with a tiny banner that read, "Go Jets!" It was just the right touch.

"The outside noise is what it is, but it doesn't affect us," Ryan said.

From the mid-week flyover to Mike Mitchell's unsavory leap into the Jets' victory formation -- two aerial cheap shots -- Ryan pushed the right buttons. Think about this for a second: The Jets lined up cornerbacks named Marcus Williams and Phillip Adams against arguably the hottest quarterback-wide receiver tandem in history, Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.

Throw in Jarrett, who replaced first-round pick Calvin Pryor at safety, and you're talking about three defensive backs with a total of 10 career starts. In theory, Roethlisberger, who set a record by throwing six touchdowns in each of his previous two games, should've delivered a Hall of Fame day. But he didn't. Oh, sure, he passed for 343 yards, including an 80-yard strike to rookie Martavis Bryant with 1:16 remaining, but it was mostly harmless yardage.

Ryan blitzed Roethlisberger more than most opponents, keeping him off balance, and they did a nice job of limiting big plays, save for the Bryant bomb. The Steelers helped with a curiously conservative passing attack, throwing short instead of attacking deep against Adams and Williams. But give the Jets credit; they outplayed one of the hottest teams in the league.

"We're not intimidated by anybody," Ryan said.

Unfortunately for the Jets, a performance like this makes you wonder what might have been. Where was this team in September and October? Maybe this was just a cadaveric spasm, an involuntary twitch by a dead body. We'll find out in two weeks. For now, Ryan deserves a feel-good moment. He done good.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When it comes to takeaways, the New York Jets might not be historically bad, after all.

After generating only three takeaways in the first nine games, the Jets registered four in Sunday's 20-13 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. The modern-day record for fewest takeaways in a season is 11, by the 2013 Houston Texans. So the Jets have six games to create five turnovers.

"It's about time," coach Rex Ryan said.

The turnovers came from an unlikely source -- safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, who became the first Jets player since Ty Law (Week 17, 2005) to make three takeaways in a game. Jarrett, in his first start of the season, recorded two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The fumble was forced by Muhammad Wilkerson, who stripped wide receiver Antonio Brown on a completion. It snapped a streak of 227 straight defensive plays without a takeaway, dating to Week 5 in San Diego.

The Jets' fourth takeaway came on special teams, as T.J. Graham recovered a muffed punt by Brown. The last time they had four in a game was Oct. 14, 2012, against the Indianapolis Colts. They also allowed only 36 rushing yards, the second-lowest total of the Ryan era.

Bomb's away: Michael Vick's 67-yard touchdown pass to Graham was a bit ... um, un-Jets-like. The Jets do don't big plays. It was, by far, their longest pass play of the season. It was their longest touchdown pass since Sept. 22, 2013, when Geno Smith (remember him?) found Santonio Holmes (remember him?) for 69 yards.

Vick's pass was thrown 50 yards in the air, the first completion of at least 50 yards downfield by a Jets quarterback since Mark Sanchez in 2010, Week 9 -- a 74-yard touchdown (54 yards in the air) to Braylon Edwards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Vick-to-Graham came on a one-play drive. The last time that happened was 2010.

Rapid Reaction: New York Jets

November, 9, 2014
Nov 9

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 20-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium:

What it means: The Jets (2-8) avoided the indignity of becoming the first team in franchise history to lose nine straight in a season. They won for the first time since opening day. Nobody wants to be associated with that kind of futility, so there's that. In the big picture, though, the surprising victory doesn't change the complexion of a lost season. It's temporary relief for a coaching staff and front office under fire. For the embattled Rex Ryan, it will be a great line for his résumé. He showed his X's-and-O's acumen, making the red-hot Ben Roethlisberger look like ... well, Geno Smith.

Stock watch: The Jets' defense -- UP. This figured to be one of the biggest mismatches of the year, the Jets' lousy pass defense (a league-high 24 touchdown passes) vs. Roethlisberger, who threw six touchdown passes in each of his previous two games. So what happened? The Jets, with no-name cornerbacks Phillip Adams and Marcus Williams, made two interceptions -- both by Jaiquawn Jarrett, only their second and third picks of the season -- and kept Roethlisberger out of the end zone for 58-plus minutes. They kept Big Ben off-balance with different looks, decent pressure and shockingly good coverage on Antonio Brown (eight catches for 74 yards). Where has this been all season? After only three takeaways in the first nine games, a historically inept pace, the Jets erupted for four.

Slick Vick: Michael Vick played solid, turnover-free football for the second straight week, affirming what was apparent last week: Ryan waited too long to bench Geno Smith. Ryan should've made the change after the loss in San Diego that dropped the Jets to 1-4. Back then, there was still time to save the season. Now it's just window dressing. Vick set the tone with an early 67-yard touchdown strike to T.J. Graham, the team's first completion of 50-plus yards in the air since a Mark Sanchez pass to Braylon Edwards in 2010. After that, Vick (10-for-18, 132, two touchdowns) just managed the game, helping his own cause with 39 yards in scrambles. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass the 6,000-yard mark for rushing.

No. 1 pick is benched: Rookie Calvin Pryor, whose performance had been shrinking in recent weeks, was replaced by Jarrett in the starting lineup. Some people will try to spin this as another attack on GM John Idzik and his drafting record -- and it's a fair point -- but you know what? Pryor deserved to be benched. Simply put, he hasn't produced. You have to hand it to Ryan for making the move, especially because Jarrett delivered a big game. Ryan's job is to win the game; he can't be concerned about his boss' draft scorecard.

Game ball: Jarrett played the game of his life -- his first two NFL interceptions, one sack and one fumble recovery. He had no interceptions in the first 38 games. Talk about an unlikely hero.

What's ahead: Just the Jets' luck; they finally get some positive momentum, and now it's the bye week. Instead of giving the players a six-day break, as he usually does, Ryan is planning a four-day respite with two practices.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the second time in five days, a disgruntled New York Jets fan took to the sky to express disappointment with the current state of the team.

About two hours before kickoff Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a plane circled the stadium carrying a banner that read: "Jets Rebuilding Since 1969."

Technically, that's not correct. It was the 1968 team that won the Super Bowl, which was played in January 1969. But we're being picky. The point is, the fan base is upset with the franchise, which began Sunday one win shy of the team record for most consecutive losses in a season -- nine.

As far as we could tell, there wasn't a "Fire John Idzik" banner in the area. That, of course, made news last Wednesday, when it circled the Jets' practice field for 20 minutes, stunning and angering team officials.

As for Sunday's lineups, quarterback Geno Smith is, as expected, the No. 2 quarterback. Matt Simms, last week's backup while Smith sat out with a shoulder injury, is inactive. The Jets' other inactives: wide receiver Walter Powell, cornerback Darrin Walls, linebacker IK Enemkpali, guard Dakota Dozier, guard Wesley Johnson and nose tackle T.J. Barnes.

There were no surprises among the Steelers' inactives: quarterback Landry Jones, cornerback Ike Taylor, safety Shamarko Thomas, safety Ross Ventrone, safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker Ryan Shazier and guard Chris Hubbard.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Darrin Walls has been ruled out for the Jets, and coach Rex Ryan said the Jets will likely start cornerbacks Phillip Adams and rookie Marcus Williams. Both potential starters were signed just last September by the Jets.

This is the third pair of starters at the position for the Jets this season.

Williams, a starter for the first time in his short career last week, was fined $16,537 for a horse-collar tackle against Kansas City -- not an insignificant amount for an undrafted free agent.

The Minneapolis native didn’t know he was going to start last week until Saturday. After the game, he looked at the film and thinks he can improve upon it against the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, whom Williams called a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

“I picked up on some things that we missed, hopefully come out this week and correct them,” Williams said.


Out: CB Darrin Walls (calf).

Probable: T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), G Willie Colon (knee), T Breno Giacomini (illness), LB David Harris (shoulder), WR Percy Harvin (heel), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), WR Jeremy Kerley (not injury related), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (illness), WR Greg Salas (wrist), QB Geno Smith (right shoulder), QB Michael Vick (foot), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (illness).


Out: S Troy Polamalu (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (ankle), CB Ivan Taylor (forearm), S Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), S Ross Ventrone (hamstring).

Probable: DE Cameron Heyward (not injury related), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), DE Brett Keisel (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Michael Mitchell (not injury related), C Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), LB Jason Worilds (abdomen).
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the only Big Ben out there, and next season the Jets will be heading to London to play the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 4, 2015.

Or at least, considering the Jets are in the midst of a 1-8 season, some of them will.

“I’ll say the obvious,” coach Rex Ryan said, “as long as I’m on that plane, it’ll be a great trip.”

As the Jets prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, word reached the team that they would be tapped to travel across the pond for at Wembley Stadium in 2015. The Jets will play a game against Miami as the visiting team on a neutral field, so there could be an advantage there.

Not surprisingly, soccer fans such as tight end Jace Amaro, linebacker Nick Bellore and kicker Nick Folk were excited about the prospect of taking in a sporting event even as they prepared to play one.

“Playing a division game, too -- this is going to be a game that matters for both teams,” Amaro said.

Rookie safety Calvin Pryor has a friend in London who has always wanted him to play there. Until today, he never thought he’d actually got there. Pryor said he’s never been out of the country and just got his passport.

“I think it’s going to be a fun experience,” Pryor said. “It’s pretty good news.”

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson both said they were more concerned with the team’s flagging hopes this season than with an international trip next year. Wilkerson said a business trip is about business. Linebacker Jason Babin agreed.

Last year, Babin took the trip to London with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“For me, I enjoy traveling,” Babin said. “But when you go to London for work, you’re going to work. Last time we had a private event, me and a couple of the guys went with the owner and saw the [crown] jewels. So we got to do some fun things, but it’s work.”

Like a few of his teammates, Bilal Powell doesn’t want to get too excited. Soon to be a free agent, he doesn’t want to assume anything. That’s something the running back has in common with his coach.

“It’s my last year on my contract. I don’t know at this time,” Powell said.

Given the way this season has gone, figuring out who will be on the plane to London next fall takes a little bit of guesswork.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jeremy Kerley will miss two days of practice this week for personal reasons, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Kerley, a wide receiver, was absent on Thursday and will likely miss Friday as well, but Ryan said he expects Kerley to play on Sunday against the Steelers at MetLife.

"He’ll be fine," Ryan said.

The rest of the injury report:


Did not practice: WR Kerley (not injury related), CB Darrin Walls (calf).

Full: T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), G Willie Colon (knee), T Breno Giacomini (illness), LB David Harris (shoulder), WR Percy Harvin (heel), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (illness), WR Greg Salas (wrist), QB Geno Smith (right shoulder), QB Michael Vick (foot), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (illness).

Did not practice: DE Brett Keisel (not injury related), S Troy Polamalu (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (ankle), S Shamarko Thomas (hamstring).

Limited: CB Ivan Taylor (forearm), S Ross Ventrone (hamstring).

Full: DE Cameron Heyward (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Michael Mitchell (not injury related), C Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), LB Jason Worilds (abdomen).
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Antonio Allen cornerback experiment is likely winding down. On Monday, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan indicated Allen would be going back to his natural position at safety, ending a frustrating stretch for Allen, an athletic defensive player who was asked to learn the playbook for the entire backfield each week.

“That’s the way the game goes, people are forced to be in positions they’re not used to,” Allen said. “You can complain about it or you can be quiet and go to work as usual, and that’s what I did. I mean, I did my best. I probably gave up a touchdown every game, but I mean, hey, that was a sacrifice they was willing to give up. That’s what it is.”

Allen probably would have preferred it if Jets general manager John Idzik had just gone out and brought in a free agent corner after injuries to Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle took out the team’s top two corners. But the Jets stuck with Allen, and the free agents that have been brought in would likely be third-stringers on most other teams.

“(The change) definitely will be comfortable, they’re taking some of the load off me,” said Allen, who's in his third season with the Jets. “But I did whatever I could do at corner and I did it to the best of my ability and I’m going to do the same at safety when I move back.”

Allen was tapped because of his quickness and athleticism, and he did well at first. Luckily, his bosses seem to understand that Allen was given a heavier burden than most members of the defense.

“It was a tough move in the first place, one that we were looking at to try and see if he could do it,” defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said. "We have moved him back to safety and we’ll see how he does."

Jaiquawn Jarrett, who also plays safety, said the experience will only make Allen a better player down the road.

“Tone plays numerous positions going back and forth from corner to safety,” Jarrett said. “But he should stick with it and get better every day. He comes to work every day with the mantra to get better. Being able to play multiple positions is going to help him.”

Allen (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) was benched in the second half of a loss to Kansas City last week. It didn’t help that Darrin Walls, who was also tapped to start this injury-plagued season, was out with a knee/calf injury and Marcus Williams, recently signed off the practice squad, was the other starting corner.

“I did everything I could do,” Allen said, “and maybe he wanted to see if one of the other corner guys could go in and give a better look, and I think that’s all they did.”

Jarrett was impressed by Allen’s willingness to take on the role and said he hadn’t been asked and wouldn’t have attempted it. “No, no, no,” Jarrett said. “Tone’s more athletic.” But Jarrett was glad to see Allen try.

“It doesn’t hurt to try something out,” Jarrett said. “You can try something out and see if you might be able to play another position as well to help the team. Sometimes you might not be able to play the position, and that’s not going to hurt you or hurt them. They just want to get the feel of, is there anything else you can do?”

Thurman said that being a good teammate and stepping outside of his comfort zone wouldn’t count against Allen. The Jets are 1-8, and a lack of corners on the roster isn’t the only way they got there.

“We asked him to do something to help the team, and he did it,” Thurman said. “What else can you say?”

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley sat at his locker on Wednesday, wearing a forest green shirt that read "Jets West Mission Viejo." It's an old T, one he received from attending former quarterback Mark Sanchez's week-long summer camp for Jets skills players in his Southern California hometown.

"Perfect timing," Kerley said with a smile.

Certainly. The first week Geno Smith spent as a backup to Michael Vick was the same one that featured Sanchez's return under center, this time for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sanchez led the Eagles to a victory, even if he wasn't turnover-free.

Sanchez lost the starting title with the Jets, and ultimately his job, after he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in a meaningless preseason game. Now, Sanchez will start for the 6-2 Eagles while the 1-8 Jets try to stop an eight-game losing streak against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I'm happy for Mark," Kerley said. "I was always on Mark's side; that's somebody I call my friend."

The Jets fan base was divided. Some thought Sanchez was a turnover machine while others thought he wasn't developed properly. Sanchez had three offensive coordinators in his four-and-a-half seasons with the Jets: Brian Schottenheimer, Tony Sparano and Marty Mornhinweg. He also never had a consistent group of receivers -- with the exception of Kerley in the slot.

"I was always on his side," Kerley said. "That was one dude when I first got here, he made sure I felt like I was at home. He went out of his way to make me feel comfortable. So he's always going to be my friend. Happy he's over there doing his thing."

The season looks bright for the Eagles, but not so much for the Jets. The "Sanchize" hasn't been replaced by a franchise quarterback with the Jets, at least not yet. Jets coach Rex Ryan could get the ax at the end of this season for failure to develop a quarterback -- at least for the Jets.

Ryan was asked about his former quarterback's success with Philadelphia on Monday.

"Mark was great," Ryan said. "There is no question about it and I wish him the best. Every decision we made is what we think is in the best interest of our team. But I am happy for him and I hope it works out well for him."

Despite his up-and-down track record – in his first two seasons, Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC title game – fans were ready for Sanchez to go last winter. Still, he was a popular person in the Jets' locker room, and there were a few who thought the Jets front office didn't do Sanchez any favors by bringing in Tim Tebow.

Many of Sanchez's teammates in New York are gone, but a few are still with the Jets.

"I'm happy for him," kicker Nick Folk said. "From what I saw, he's throwing the ball pretty well. Just want to wish him good luck."

Jets center Nick Mangold was one of Sanchez's closer friends on the team.

"I heard that he did well, and I'm excited for him. ... I texted him and said, 'Good luck.'"