Around the Locker Room for Dolphins Part II.
Florham Park, N.J.: The Jets prepare to face their second consecutive AFC East team, the Miami Dolphins, for the second time this season. The Jets are looking to be 3-1 in the division heading into their Bye week.
Rex Ryan let us know that the Jets have not swept the season series against the Dolphins since he became head coach. A fact that may seem surprising considering Ryan’s early success and the turmoil the Dolphins have gone through in recent years.
“Big game, obviously this is a critical game. You look at it this way, it’s a divisional game,” said Ryan. “We always say it’s a game-and-a-half, but it is huge. The fact we haven’t swept Miami in the past, it would be quite an accomplishment. Obviously, we know we’re going to get the very best Miami has. They’re going to be well-rested coming off the bye. They’ve won two games in a row. They have to be feeling pretty good about themselves, without question. The last game was anybody’s game. We were fortunate enough to win that game, so I think this is going to be a big game, without question.”
Mark Sanchez downplayed the sweep concept saying, “It happens to be the second time we play them, so we’re just trying to win the game. Whether that means we beat them 10 times before or not, whether we split with them or not, we want to win the game. In this case, obviously it means a sweep, so fine. I’m not really thinking about that. I know it means a lot to Rex, but we’re just going out there trying to execute, convert third downs, be good in the red zone, do a lot of what we did last week and just finish the game.”
A player who found himself in the thick of some key plays last Sunday against the Patriots was Kyle Wilson, who has shifted all of his attention to the next game. “We on to the next one,” said Wilson. “We’re all about Miami, the past is the past.”
Wilson continued about Miami, saying, “Everybody knows that [Rex never sweeping Miami]. It’s just a division rival so we know what type of game were getting. Everybody in here has been working hard this week and doing what they need to do to put us in the best position.” When asked about their first meeting against Miami, Wilson said, “They did a good job running the ball and I think on defense we didn’t do a good job on stopping them on third down. At least those two aspects of the game we are preparing for.”
Lastly, Wilson spoke of Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s improvements from Week 3 to now. “If you look at numbers, definitely his completion percentage. That just shows what they have been doing their offense, how it has changed to help him out a little bit. We’re going to try and make him uncomfortable.”
On the other side of the ball, Joe McKnight quieted some critics playing through ankle pain, and looking good doing so, in last Sunday’s game.
He received praise from his head coach this afternoon, when Ryan said, “Absolutely, he’s a tough guy. Let’s face it. Last year, he had a hyperextended elbow, and then he had a shoulder separation, and he played in the game. He still played. He is a tough guy. There’s no doubt. Was I surprised that he gave it a shot? Not really, knowing Joe. But the fact that he did, I think showed all of his teammates the kind of commitment and toughness that he has.”
McKnight assured us he will definitely be ready for this Sunday against Miami. “I’m playing this week. We have a bye week coming up. I’ll rest on the bye week,” said McKnight. “This is an important game because we can still be in second place and still be in the position to take the division over. We need to go ahead and win this game and put this team behind us.”
Tim Tebow chimed in the matchup against Miami, saying, “”I feel we are a much improved team, I feel we have been getting better every week. I believe we will continue to do that and this is a big game for us. Going into our bye, being able to even things up, it definitely means a lot to us.”
The most encouraging words of the day also came from Tebow, saying while coming close to beating New England was positive, it wasn’t enough. “It definitely lets you know you can play with anybody and beat them and we didn’t play near as good as a game as we could have or should have,” Tebow said. “You don’t play these games to feel good, you play to win. There aren’t many moral victories, but you do find some confidence in it for sure.”