Sunday, November 17, 2013
Did Jets pick bad time for field trip?
By Rich Cimini
ORCHARD PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets collectively scoffed at the notion that Saturday's team trip to a Dave & Busters in suburban Buffalo fueled the Buffalo Bills with added incentive.
"I don't know why that's added motivation," Rex Ryan said after the 37-14 loss Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "We do different things when we're on the road. We did different things in Atlanta, did different things wherever, so I don't know how that would give added motivation. Your players go out in groups or whatever. We went out as a team."
After dropping three of their first four on the road, Ryan decided to shake up the travel routine. Instead of afternoon offensive and defensive meetings at the team hotel, they traveled by bus to a nearby Dave & Busters. They returned to the hotel in time for the evening team meeting. Team trips happen a lot in training camp; it's unusual during the regular season.
"The fact is, we haven't been doing well on the road and you have to try different things to figure it out," tackle Austin Howard said. "I applaud Rex for trying to do something different, trying to figure out why we haven't been doing as well on the road as we have at home."
Guard Willie Colon said, "Rex wants us to stay together and we're trying to build team camaraderie. Rex wants to break the monotony of us being on the road and he wants guys to get to know each other. It was a team-bonding moment, that's all it was."
But the Jets were sensitive about the trip and didn't want it to become public, perhaps fearing it would create the perception they were taking the Bills lightly. It was first reported by the New York Post. On Saturday night, a team spokesman refused to confirm or deny the trip.
The Bills could've perceived it as a slight. Coach Doug Marrone said he was aware of it, but claimed he never mentioned it to his team until after the game. Several players said they had heard about it before the game. Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham said they do similar things on the road.
"We go out before games when we travel," Graham said. "Anytime you can travel to a new city and do something different, (it's OK). There's a time for work and there's a time for play. If you have time off, you get to free your mind. No disrespect on that one."
Graham said his initial thought was "it was kind of lighthearted and they kind of took it easy (Saturday) night, but it's not disrespectful. They tried to free up their minds and get away from the game."
The Jets (5-5) have other problems, mainly a lack of consistency. They became the first team in history to alternate wins and losses through its first 10 games.
"We're running out of time," Colon said. "However we want the season to end, we have to turn it around now."
Wide receiver David Nelson attributed the up and down nature to "a lack of maturity. We have to grow up, especially on the road. It seems like whenever we're on the road, our intensity drops off."
The Jets are 1-4 on the road, including losses by 25, 40 and 23 points. The bad news is, they still have three away games, starting Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens.