Dinner for Two
FLORHAM PARK, NJ - The table would probably be filled with an array of enchiladas, empanadas, taco dips, maybe some Frank’s red hot sauce to top it off and then about 12 to 13 empty Coronas scattered around the table.
No, I am not describing my last trip to Tijuana.
Instead, I am envisioning what the food, and more importantly the talk, between Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his second year quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
“It’s a lunch date, so I can eat some Mexican food with him,” Ryan told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier this afternoon, the two sat down — without the company of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer or quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh – to discuss the upcoming games against two tough defenses in the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The sit-down comes fresh off two less-than-stellar performances by Sanchez (16-for-28, 166 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT vs. CIN / 17-for-33, 164 yards, 3 INT vs. NE) and right before Ryan faces some familiar foes in Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (the 2000 Ravens defensive coordinator) and the Steelers long-time defensive architect Dick LeBeau.
“I know those two guys well. I worked under [Nolan] for a few years and I’ve gone against [LeBeau] forever. So I think I could help him through these two weeks. We’ll go over some film or two and maybe I can give him some insight,” Ryan said.
The meetings between Ryan and Sanchez are separate from the weekly Friday meetings held betwen Ryan, Sanchez, Schottenheimer and Cavanaugh.
“There’s some things, formationally that he’s been around with Mike,” Schottenheimer said referring to his head coach. “All that stuff is priceless because, in certain situations, we’re all going to revert back to our final core of beliefs. In crunch time, what I might call, there’s going to be something that Mike’s going to call. I think having that insight is very valuable.”
With many wondering what direction this Jets team will go after their Monday night meltdown, Ryan will take this time to recenter his quarterback. The sit-down should not come as a surprise as a similar meeting happened around this time last year.
While Sanchez was still having difficulty grasping Schottenheimer’s system, Ryan decided to break down the playbook in a simpler fashion: using a color-coded scheme so that the relay from coach-to-quarterback-to team would be fluid and help ease Sanchez’s transition from college to the pros.
The Jets hope that the sit-down, coupled with a change in philosophy on the coin flip (they will now receive instead of defer), will provide a spark that the offense has been missing.
“By getting out there first, I think that allows us to [start fast] because sometimes when you sit down first and watch the defense, you [just] sit around,” LaDanian Tomlinson said. “At the beginning of the game you’re ready to go, then you kid of sit around for a while, so it does take away from that tempo a little bit.”
There you have it. Nothing like a little Mexican food to kick start your metabolism, or in this case your offense.