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THE REX BOX: It's All About the Decal


There is talk about DE Shaun Ellis receiving a suspension from the NFL for the season opener at Houston resulting from his November arrest in Florham Park, N.J. But neither Ellis nor Rex Ryan has gotten the official word on this.

"I plan on Shaun being there for the first game," head coach Rex Ryan said at his news conference today. "Until they flat tell me he's not playing in this game, we're going business as usual."

"No, not really," Ellis said when asked if he'd heard anything official about a suspension. "It's a league decision. It's something I've got to go through."

But putting the possible suspension and LB Calvin Pace's four-game penalty aside, Ryan made a strong statement about how any individual absences will impact on the Jets' defense as a unit: Not at all.

"It's that decal on the side of the helmet," Rex said. "If we've got some guys down, we still expect you to play your tail off.

"Last year in Baltimore we had more injuries and lost more games by starters than any other team in the NFL. Yet it's the unit that carries the mantle, it's not just the individual. Our defense is built on being able to overcome injuries or whatever. If we lose an individual for a game or four games, whatever that case may be, we're going to be just fine because it's that pride in that unit, knowing that these guys trust each other to hold it down.

"We always have a motto that it's the backup's job to come in and play at that same level or even a little better. We believe we can get that done. We've done it throughout the years. We did it last year in Baltimore. We were pretty decent on defense."

Here's how decent: The '08 Ravens were second in the NFL in overall defensive yardage allowed, third vs. the run, second vs. the pass and third in points allowed.

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