Damien doubts Jets turnaround

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
8:53
AM ET
Damien Woody knows the inner workings of the Jets better than most. After all, he played right tackle for them for three years. These days, he's an analyst for ESPN, paid for his opinions. On Wednesday, he was on a conference call with reporters to discuss the Jets and, although he didn't unload on his old team, a la Joe Namath, he provided opinion and insight on what's going wrong.

Here's a sampling, per The Star-Ledger of Newark:

On whether they can rebound: "Do I think it will get turned around? I don’t know. I really don’t know. It's early in the season; we’re only at the quarter point. But right now, the early returns don’t look good on how they are performing.

"Right now, I’m just going off what I see, and what I see is a team that can't run the football, they can't protect the passer; a quarterback that is struggling, he's completed 55 percent of his balls, he's committed a lot of turnovers. Now, can they turn it around? Look it’s the quarter point of the season, there's a lot of season left -- yeah, they could turn it around. But I'm just saying, what I've seen so far at this point, it’s going to be tough."

On Rex Ryan's declaration to the team that it's reverting to its run-oriented style: "The thing I have a problem with is Rex says, 'We’re going to go back to ground and pound; we are going to run the ball.' But that’s something you have to do from Day 1. You can't just flip the switch and just say, 'Oh, we are going to be a rushing team now.' That’s something you have to do from the beginning; that’s your identity, The run game is so hard, it’s almost impossible to just flip the switch and just be a run team, it really is."

On how the new CBA, with less padded practices, is hurting the team: "I think the new rules hurt the Jets really bad. In order to go back and try to be this ground-and-pound team, you have to practice that, you're going to have to practice that in pads ... It's hard to really establish that physicality (without pads). I think you see it on both sides. You see the slip in the run defense. I think the practice rule has really hurt the Jets as a whole."

On his replacement, Wayne Hunter: "This is Wayne's first year being 'The guy.' My hope with the situation is that as the season progresses, he's going to get better. Right now, he's run into some bumps in the road. It's hard in the National Football League, it's hard to be the guy and go out there and play at a high level every game. I'm sure (offensive line) coach (Bill) Callahan and Rex understand the challenges that lie ahead, are going to put the necessary work in."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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