Cris Carter didn't sugar coat, that's for sure.
The Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, who was invited to speak Tuesday to the New York Jets, delivered a candid (some might say harsh) evaluation of the team during his 90-minute speech. Carter said he took questions from the players and was asked by a veteran offensive lineman (he didn't identify the player) to give his opinion of the 2-8 Jets. He let ‘er rip.
"I told them flat out what I thought," Carter said Wednesday on the "Mike Lupica Show" on ESPN New York 98.7. "I thought they didn't play like the Rex Ryan teams that I used to know. I told them they make too many mistakes, they turn the ball over and they don't have no identity. I said the defensive front seven and the defensive line, if I had a hat on, I'd take it off to you, because you guys do play hard and you have played well.
"But I said the intensity … I don't see that like the Jets teams that went to the AFC Championship several years ago. I don't see that. I said, ‘Y'all can say what you want, blame what you want, but, man, if you turn the football over, your chances of winning in the NFL, they go down.' I said, ‘You gotta make plays … The secondary ain't making plays. Wide receivers, you got make more plays.' I said, ‘That's what this is about.'"
In case you're wondering, no, Rex Ryan wasn't in the room at this point. Carter said he asked Ryan and the coaches to leave the room because he didn't want the players to think he was holding back.
"I said, ‘People are paid money to work jobs, but in the NFL you get paid to win,'" Carter, an ESPN studio analyst, continued. "This ain't no fun when you're not winning."
Carter said he didn't criticize the team's effort, but he stressed the importance of going beyond standard effort.
"I'm talking about going to extreme measures," he said. "When Rex took over the Jets, the Jets played with a different type of intensity. They played with an edge, they played with a cockiness, with a confidence that most NFL teams play with. I also told them the talent in this room is not that much different than the other 31 teams. 'If y'all think you've get less talent, stop making excuses. Has it been tough conditions y'all were put under with (John) Idzik and Rex and the contract and all of that talk? Yes, but if you make plays, all of that will go away.'"
Ryan has known Carter for years. His father, Buddy, coached Carter with the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan called it an "outstanding" speech. Of course, he didn't hear Carter question his team's intensity.
"I was just in there at the beginning of it, and that was enough for me," Ryan said Wednesday. "He was outstanding. Then I left and let him just talk player to player."