Jets penalties will lead to pushups

Updated: September 24, 2013, 10:33 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPN.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If a player on the New York Jets commits a penalty in practice, it means pushups for everybody -- from the players and coaches to the owner and office employees.

After a franchise-record 20 penalties in Sunday's 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills, a concerned Rex Ryan reinstated the penalty-prevention program he first used in 2010. Ryan said Monday that he challenged the entire organization to participate, welcoming the fans to join as well.

It might sound sophomoric to some, but it worked in 2010, and the Ryan-coached Jets usually are among the least-penalized teams in the league.

"I don't want our team associated with penalties," Ryan said. "That's not who we are. I want to be a physical football team, but I also want to be the least penalized team in the league, not the most penalized team. It's not acceptable."

The Jets became the first team in 62 years to win a game with 20 penalties -- an "amazing" feat, according to Ryan. He addressed it with the team, spelling out different ways the Jets will combat the problem. The only one he shared with the media was the pushup plan.

If there's a penalty in practice, everyone except the guilty party drops for 10 pushups. When the Jets used this approach in 2010, everyone in the organization was a willing participant, including owner Woody Johnson.

"[The players] will get on each other because there's a little bit of accountability," Ryan said. "If you look over and the owner is knocking them out, it's like, 'Oh, really?'"

Johnson "knocks these things out pretty good," Ryan said with a smile. Of course, no coach wants to see his boss with his hands in the dirt. But Ryan said he'll do whatever it takes to curb the rash of penalties, hoping the practices don't turn into a glorified gym class.

"We don't want to look like Jack LaLanne," he said.

On Sunday, the Jets (2-1) had almost as many flags as the United Nations -- 11 penalties on offense, nine on defense. The worst offenders were guard Vladimir Ducasse (four for 35 yards) and cornerback Kyle Wilson (four for 49 yards, plus an offsetting penalty).

Wilson lost his poise in the fourth quarter, committing a penalty on four consecutive plays -- three of which involved wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Wilson was flagged for holding (offset by Stevie Johnson's taunting penalty), illegal contact, unsportsmanlike conduct (he shoved center Eric Wood near a pile) and a personal foul for making contact with Stevie Johnson when he was already down.

Wilson was benched for a series.

"He let a personal thing affect him," Ryan said of Wilson, who declined to comment on the officiating. "The thing about that is, it affects the team. Kyle's a smart player, but that's a mistake. We have to learn from it."

The variety of penalties was balanced. There were nine pre-snap fouls, nine action penalties (including four holding calls) and two after-the-whistle fouls. The false starts and offside calls are the most alarming, according to Ryan, because they indicate a lack of concentration.

"He let us know we have to eliminate these mistakes," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said.

Thing is, the Jets' players have been doing pushups in practice since the start of the season, but it doesn't seem to be working. They committed 14 penalties in the first two games, but now the entire organization will be held accountable.

"No one's perfect, but at least we emphasize it," quarterback Geno Smith said. "We're trying to improve, and I think we will."

Ryan, whose team has never been lower than ninth in penalties, vowed to get it fixed. The Jets became only the eighth team in NFL history to have 20 in one game. The previous team to do it was the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. Their defensive coordinator?

Rex Ryan.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


EDITORS' PICKS