Every successful player who has been in the NFL for long enough has faced adversity at one time or another. The Jets acquired veterans like fullback Tony Richardson during the off-season to be team leaders when the going gets tough.
And after the Jets' loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, the tough need to get going.
"I think the team will respond well," Richardson said on a conference call Monday. "Guys are disappointed. We had a chance to let it soak in today, but once we get back to work tomorrow we have to put that behind us."
The Jets have gone from a win-and-you're-in situation for a playoff spot to a must-win game again the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, plus help from a New England or Baltimore loss.
"The bottom line is you can look at all the scenarios, but if we don't take care of our business this weekend then none of that stuff really matters," Richardson said. "I like the attitude of the team. I like the work ethic of the team. I know the guys will respond extremely well."
With losses come scrutiny from fans and media, but Richardson knows that for players that's only a distraction when there's still football left to play.
"No, you don't go into those things," he said. "I think what you do is you play for your own job. Everything that we're judged on is winning and losing in the National Football League and I've been a part of a lot of football teams. Some have gone well and some haven't gone so well.
"We started this thing together. We're going to win together. We're going to lose together. Offense, defense, special teams and our coaching staff — this is a very, very close-knit group. The bottom line is, we're not worried about whose job is on the line or this or that, because ultimately you have no control over that anyway."
Richardson was also asked if he felt the team appeared emotionally flat in recent games.
"Well, I think different guys show emotion different ways," said the 14-year veteran. "I've seen guys that run and bang their head on the locker before the game and then they have nothing left for the game."
He illustrated his point by recounting a story told by a guest speaker, a mixed martial arts fighter whose name was not disclosed, prior to the Seattle game.
"He was saying that when he prepares for a fight, if he comes down to the ring and he's smiling, that means he's well prepared and he knows his opponent," said Richardson. "He said anytime he comes down and there's an unsure look or he's looking all tense, that means he hasn't prepared himself. So I think guys get ready for games and competitions in different ways.
"Some guys that do all that rah-rah and stuff like that — and I don't knock that if that's what you do to get yourself ready to play — but ultimately, you're a professional athlete and you shouldn't need to jump up and down. You shouldn't need all of that to prepare yourself to play.
"This is what you've dreamed of doing for a long time, as a young person and all the way through college, and now you have this opportunity and you shouldn't need a pep talk or a speech or all that stuff to get you going on Sunday."
Veteran tackle Damien Woody also faced the music with reporters Monday and gave his take on what players need to get psyched for a game.
"My philosophy is this: If you can't be motivated by the fact that you're staring the playoffs right in the face, then I don't know what else could motivate you. I don't know what else could give you more emotion or motivation or whatever the case may be, besides the fact that you're in a playoff race right now.
"Anything outside of football can wait till the off-season. Nothing else is important, besides football and winning a football game against the Miami Dolphins."
Neither Richardson nor Woody made excuses for the loss to the Seahawks, but it's when thing look their bleakest that a team needs to rely on leadership that reminds them the season isn't over yet.
"The thing we want to do is put a good performance on that football field and finish what we started in August," said Richardson. "That's the only thing we have control over — finishing this season on a high note and winning this ballgame this weekend and letting the chips fall where they may.
"You know, we had control over that at one time and now we don't, so we have a lot of these different scenarios, but none of those scenarios matter if we don't get a victory this weekend."