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Thursday, April 18, 2013
NFL schedule-makers slam Jets

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

NY Jets 2013 Schedule
The 2013 Jets schedule features a hellish October slate.
Rex Ryan delivered a curious rant Thursday night when the NFL released its regular-season schedule, but it wasn't about the potential Revis Bowl in Week 1 -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the New York Jets.

Oh, no, Ryan was fired up about the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, his old team, having to open on the road. He blamed the Baltimore Orioles, playing at home Sept. 5, for refusing to move their game -- "a common courtesy," said Ryan, clearly annoyed.

Huh? Why is the coach of the Jets more passionate about the Ravens' opener than his own? Methinks Ryan, who doesn't call plays on offense, opted for a clever misdirection in this situation.

It sure seemed like an attempt to divert attention away from the real headline: The NFL's decision to schedule Jets-Bucs on the first Sunday.

The Jets and Bucs are engaged in trade talks, and there's a good possibility Darrelle Revis will be sent to Tampa Bay in the coming days. The folks in the schedule-making office, paying attention to the headlines, definitely know how to squeeze the juice out of a big story.

The Jets can't be happy about this. That they face the Bucs isn't news -- they've known it since the end of the season -- but having to see Revis in the opener (maybe) adds another layer of intrigue.

It would be a lot easier if the game were in November, but now there's no hiding from it. If the Jets trade their best player, a move that would generate a lot of controversy, they will have to confront the ghost of Revis under glare of opening day.

Could this blow up the potential trade? Probably not, but it has to create some uneasiness for the Jets. This wouldn't be Kerry Rhodes coming back with the Arizona Cardinals and, as it turned out, intercepting a couple of passes like he did last December. No, Revis is one of the best players in franchise history.

Maybe Ryan needed to vent, so he channeled his frustration toward the Ravens/Orioles situation.

No doubt coached by the Jets' thought police, Ryan said absolutely nothing about the Bucs and the Revis angle. Nothing. He didn't even mention Revis' name, making you wonder if the talks have reached a highly sensitive stage. Reporters were told beforehand that Ryan would answer only schedule-related questions.

"I will say this: I'm happy to be playing at home," Ryan said on a conference call with reporters. "I always want to open up at home and have our fans get behind us. That's a good way to start for us, for sure."

Nice try, Rex. No one was buying that.

Let's be honest: The Jets got slammed by the schedule-maker. Four days after facing Revis (maybe), they travel up to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in another Thursday-night affair. Remember the last one? No, well here's a clue: Butt Fumble.

Revis' true value as a shutdown cornerback is best appreciated against the pass-happy Patriots. Now, in less than a week, they run the risk of getting beat by him and beat without him.

Maybe this is the league's way of saying, "Serves you right for trading [maybe] the best cornerback in the league."

Ryan, ever the optimist, promised a better showing than 49-19, the score from last Thanksgiving night.

"It's safe to say we will play better. I don't think there's any doubt," he said. "It's hard to play worse."

In October, it's the month from hell, with road games against the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals -- both 2012 playoff teams -- and home dates against the Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints. The season could get away from the rebuilding Jets before Halloween.

That would be bad for Ryan, who is coaching for his job. He didn't sound worried. He was miffed that the Orioles didn't yield to the Ravens.

"Well, who really cares? You've got 81 [games] at home. Maybe you could have done the right thing and given one up," he said. "It's unfortunate."

Ryan jumped on the soap box. Anything to avoid having to comment on Revis.