At 1-8, Jets get back to work refreshed and refocused for second half of season Print
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Monday, 12 November 2007 12:37
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 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Kerry Rhodes went to a restaurant Sunday to grab a bite to eat, and several NFL games were playing on the televisions around the bar area.
``I just sat there and closed my eyes,'' the New York Jets standout safety said Monday. ``I got it to go, so I was there for all of 5 minutes.''
The Jets got back to work Monday after doing all they could during their bye week to take a break from football and their disappointing start.
``The record still looms over our head because we're 1-8,'' Rhodes said. ``It's a chance for us to try and get some things going in the right direction. It's not a fresh start, but a chance to recharge ourselves, put it behind us and try to have success now.''
That's what New York did last season, when it went 6-2 after the bye and made the playoffs. While the Jets' postseason chances this year are all but lost because of a six-game losing skid, they're hoping to end the season on a positive note.
``We're a 1-8 team and we're not patting ourselves on the back,'' defensive end David Bowens said. ``We have the confidence that we can start winning some games. We're going to approach this thing one game at a time.''
They'll need to get things fixed in a hurry. The Jets will face AFC North-leading Pittsburgh on Sunday, followed by a game at NFC East-leading Dallas on Thanksgiving.
``As far as the future and how many games we have left and goals for the second half, that's not in play,'' guard Brandon Moore said. ``We're trying to get a win and that starts this week.''
After the games against the Steelers and Cowboys, the Jets are at winless Miami. Then, their last four games are against probably playoff contenders in Cleveland, New England, Tennessee and Kansas City.
``We need to come out and try to get a win, not try to play spoiler,'' Rhodes said. ``If you try to play the role of spoiler, that kind of depicts you as a loser. You don't want to say we want to spoil their season because they're having a good season and we aren't. We have to try and get a win because we want to win and we need a win.''
Five of the Jets' last six losses have been by 10 or less points, meaning they have been in every game during the slump. The one loss that was by more than 10 was a 35-24 defeat to the Giants in a game the Jets led in the fourth quarter.
``It's monotonous,'' Bowens said. ``We have to say the same thing every week on why we lost the game. It seems like every game, the reasons have been the same for why we lost. It would be good for once - or seven times - to come in and say we outplayed these guys and made the plays that they didn't.''
The run defense will be a big part of being able to win games. The Jets struggled last season in that area, but made adjustments during their bye and were one of the toughest units in the league in the second half.
It'll be even more difficult to turn things around this season because the Jets are ranked last in the NFL in run defense. They're allowing 152.2 yards rushing per game, and face some big-time backs in the last half of the season, including Willie Parker, Julius Jones, Jamal Lewis and possibly Larry Johnson, if he returns from an injury.
``It's individual plays in individual games,'' Rhodes said. ``A player can step up and make a play here or we can have a better call. It's a culmination of everything. It's just a little off.''
Notes: After being silent for two weeks about anything regarding LB Jonathan Vilma's injury, Mangini announced that it was the right knee that was operated on last Wednesday. Mangini would offer no further insight into the procedure or when the team expects Vilma back. ... The Jets will honor retired RB Curtis Martin, the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history, at halftime of their game Sunday against Pittsburgh.

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