Rex Ryan going deep in his bag of tricks to get a win
MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 10/12/2012, 12:43 p.m.
Here's a phrase that Jets coach Rex Ryan is going to have to live by for the duration of this season: You play the hand you are dealt.
Injuries to several key players have forced the jolly green coach to get more imaginative. Ryan pulled just about everything he could out of his hat in Monday's 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans: fake punts, onside kicks, etc. It was a lesson in what to do when you are desperate.
What else can you do when you are struggling in every phase of your offense? The Jets started the season with Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill as its top four pass catchers. After a shoulder injury to reserve receiver Clyde Gates on Monday night, the Jets are down to Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Jeff Cumberland and newly acquired Jason Hill. The lack of weapons has prompted Ryan to pull out all the stops on offense and special teams.
"I came here to win. That's it," said Ryan. "Faking a punt in your own territory, going for it in your own territory, I came to win ... I'm never going to look back and regret going for something."
The Jets were successful on a fake punt in their own territory and nearly recovered an onside kick after Joe McKnight's 100-yard kickoff return.
Ryan has always had a gambler's heart and made no apologies for any of his risky decisions, including running the wildcat, with McKnight taking the direct snap and Kerley getting the snap on an end-around.
"You try and steal a possession if you can ... that was us," said Ryan. "We're just going to go for it. I think I've always been that."
With 11 games left, the odds of the Jets coming out on top taking so many chances is slim. Kerley fumbled on the end-around but recovered, while McKnight lost eight yards on his play as the wildcat quarterback.
It proves that unorthodox plays don't win football games--skilled players do. The Jets (2-3) will face another skilled player in rookie quarterback Andrew Luck when the red-hot Colts (2-2) come to town on Sunday.