- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After getting embarrassed by Darren McFadden, the New York Jets' prideful defense no doubt is glad to be facing another premier running back, Ray Rice, as it looks to regain its mojo.
"I wish we were playing Summit [High School] and my kid was the running back," Rex Ryan said Wednesday in a moment of gallows humor.
Ryan probably would've settled for the Kansas City Chiefs or another offensively challenged team, but instead they get the Baltimore Ravens and the dynamic Rice, who has gained more yards from scrimmage since 2009 than every player in the NFL except Chris Johnson.
The timing couldn't be worse -- or better, depending on your perspective. The Jets surrendered 234 rushing yards to the Oakland Raiders, including 171 by McFadden -- the worst numbers against the Jets since Ryan took over in 2009.
It was a humbling performance for the Jets' defense, which returned to the practice field Wednesday still trying to eliminate the stink. Nose tackle Sione Pouha said the defense needed a "Clorox bath" to "cleanse yourself from all the impurities."
That's what happens when you get sprayed by a skunk, which is basically what went down in Oakland.
The Raiders made the Jets look old and slow, rushing for nearly 140 yards outside the tackles. That doesn't bode well for the Jets, considering Rice's specialty is making plays on the perimeter -- as a runner and receiver.
"It's not like they have to go out of their way to scheme us for some of the things we struggled with last week," safety Jim Leonhard said.
Ryan believes they were undermined by technique issues and inconsistency that can be cleaned up. He said McFadden's 70-yard touchdown run, around left end, was the same exact play they had stuffed four times earlier in the game. That drove him nuts.
"That bothered me more than anything I watched on tape," Ryan said.
He said they need to do a better job of setting the edge on outside runs. It means they need a force defender on the outside, usually a linebacker, who makes the runner turn up to the inside. On McFadden's touchdown, the Jets gave him a clear lane.
Actually, it was more like a three-lane highway.
"McFadden had a 200-meter dash, full speed, untouched," said Leonhard, who made a diving tackle attempt 25 yards downfield.
Rice, the former Rutgers star, has the same type of ability. In fact, he's averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Actually, he might be more of a threat than McFadden because of his ability in the passing game. Rice already has 14 catches for 178 yards, and he's 15th in the league with 88 yards after the catch.
Joe Flacco likes to throw quick screens to Rice, letting him do his thing in space -- a problem area for the Jets.
The two buzz words in the defensive meetings this week are "edge" and "consistency." The coaches ripped into the players on Sunday and Monday, but it was back to teaching mode Wednesday. They want to forget the feeling from last Sunday, but they want to remember the mistakes, and learn from them.
Pouha said they were guilty of assignment errors, alignment errors and communication breakdowns.
"It's kind of like biting into a burger," he said. "You don't know if you taste the bun first or the lettuce first or the meat first. It's just a combination. That's what made it so catastrophic."
Forget the meat, now they're focused on Rice. On paper, it's not a good matchup, as the Jets are ranked 31st in run defense. That stat gives Ryan the creeps.
"How many teams are there, a 1,000?" he joked. "That number is alarming to me."
With nightmares of Run DMC fresh, the Jets' D looks to bounce back vs. Ravens.