Rex Ryan had a number of things to be encouraged by out of Sunday's 27-20 victory over the Bills, but the one most discouraging development was the franchise-record 20 penalties for 168 yards.
But the Jets head coach isn't hanging his head and saying "woe is us." He's going retro with a return to his pushups-for-penalties program that he instituted during the 2010 season: Every time a player commits a penalty in practice this week (and beyond?), everyone on the field drops and does 10.
"We're challenging the entire organization to get behind it," Ryan said at his late-afternoon news conference today. "We want the player to know who he's affecting — he's affecting all of us. When the players see that, they'll get on each other. There's a little bit of accountability there, especially when they look over and the owner's knocking them out, too."
Three years ago the entire organization got involved in the midseason push to increase awareness and decrease penalties. Rex is encouraging that again, and is even casting beyond the walls of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
"I'm not saying our fans need to do pushups and all that ... I'm not saying it," Ryan said. "But you know, if our fans want to get in there and help us, how much pressure is that?"
But seriously, folks, the head coach said he's not encouraging all players, employees and fans to turn into a band of latter-day Jack LaLannes. There is a method to this madness.
"We don't want our team to be associated with penalties, no question. That's not who we are," he said. "I want 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."
One thing is sure: When Ryan turns the spotlight on penalties, they dry up. Through the first eight games in 2010, we were on a record pace for penalties and yards in a season. With the emphasis — and the pushups — in place, the rate nosedived as we headed toward a second straight playoff berth.
The same thing, without the pushups, occurred after last year's midseason bye. (See charts below.)
"We have to get better, and that's going to be a focus of ours. We've done some good things as a team, but obviously we're not where we need to be. But penalties, man, we know we can fix it. And it starts this week."
|JETS PENALTY SPLITS, PRE- & POST-EMPHASIS|
|2010, First 8 Games||63||7.9||577||72.1|
|2010, Last 8 Games||40||5.0||357||44.6|
|2012, First 8 Games||51||6.4||475||59.4|
|2012, Last 8 Games||32||4.0||233||29.1|
|2013, First 3 Games||34||11.3||279||93.0|
Ryan repeated his Sunday evening praise of