Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: September 30, 10:16 AM ET
Mike Pettine calls out Jets defense
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Four days after the New York Jets' debacle in Oakland, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine still was upset -- so upset that he questioned the effort of the defense.
"You can handle technique mistakes, and sometimes guys just go against somebody who's better and you come up short, but when it's mental errors or it's a guy being lackadaisical or it's an effort thing ... those are things we consider unacceptable," Pettine said Thursday.
"We have our standards of play and, when we don't play up to them from an effort standpoint, that's the most troubling. It's certainly something we talked about Monday when we watched the tape."
The Jets have suffered an occasional defensive clunker in two-plus seasons under Pettine and coach Rex Ryan, but this may have been the first time a coach publicly questioned the players' effort. That can be a slippery slope.
"There were plays where guys weren't going to the ball, like our trademark is," Pettine said. "We tell guys: 'Just because you have the decal on (your helmet) ... there's nothing magical about it.' It's how we practice and the mentality we take. The disappointing thing is, for all the time we put into this, we only get a set number of opportunities to go out there and compete.
"So much time, so much prep is put into each game, and to waste a game defensively like that and not play to our standards is obviously disappointing."
Pettine also used the words "disgusted" and "frustrated" and "puzzling." He said the defense was lethargic across the board, claiming only one player had a good game -- cornerback Darrelle Revis. Pettine accepted his share of the blame, saying the defensive staff also had a poor game.
The Jets take enormous pride in defense because the unit finished first and third in 2009 and 2010, respectively, in yards allowed. After three games, they're ranked 11th in total defense, 31st against the run.
The Jets allowed 234 rushing yards, the highest total in 41 games (counting playoffs) under Ryan. Darren McFadden shredded the defense for 171 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run in which he was barely touched.
Pettine said he's not planning any changes in the starting lineup for Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens, but he may give bigger roles to certain backup players. One of those players could be pass-rusher Aaron Maybin, whom the Jets re-signed Wednesday.
Linebacker Bart Scott, who was pancaked by light-blocking tight end Kevin Boss on McFadden's long touchdown, agreed with Pettine's "lethargic" explanation. Why? Scott offered an unusual alibi. He blamed it on the travel to Oakland, saying it messed up their body clocks.
"We usually feel good about how we travel to the West Coast, but I think collectively as a group it was just one of those weird days when you didn't know what time to eat, what was the best time to eat," Scott said.
He added, "Sometimes when you play at 4 o'clock, it's a little bit more difficult, because if you eat too early, you're not hungry enough to 'carb' load and do what you need to do to get ready for a game."
Pettine said he expects the defense to respond favorably against the Ravens, saying there's "no better wake-up call" than having to face Baltimore.
"If you can't get pumped up for that one, if you can't get your juices flowing ... you're sitting in the wrong room," he said.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.