Rex tells Jets to put it all together
By MARK CANNIZZARO
Rex Ryan likes to deliver his messages, whether to his Jets players, coaches, opposing teams or reporters, straight up and without a twist.
Case in point: Ryan's direct and impassioned plea on Wednesday to fans to turn the Meadowlands into a house of horrors for opposing teams so the Jets can make the place the home-field edge it's supposed to be.
Before he sent that message out to the fans, though, the Jets coach was busy hammering this message out to his players as they embark on Sunday's home game against the Texans: Raise your level and play a complete game.
"Rex's emphasis this week has been: Let's take it up two notches -- not one notch but two notches -- and start separating ourselves from the pack," right tackle Damien Woody told The Post. "We're 7-2 and by no means are we a finished product. We don't want to keep waiting around until the end of the season to play a complete game."
Through nine games, the Jets have played one that could be considered complete -- their 38-14 thrashing of the Bills on Oct. 3. But privately, the players don't count that game because of the Bills' weakling status.
Other than the Buffalo game, the Jets were probably at their best in the second half of their 28-14 win over New England in Week 2, a game in which they outscored the Patriots 18-0 after halftime.
But their season has been defined by great escapes. In Denver and Detroit, the Jets were virtually gifted victories by inferior teams.
"Right now is the time of year to step up and play the way we're capable of playing," Ryan said. "Let's be dialed in right from the get-go and carry it on throughout the game. We all recognize the type of team we could be, but we have to prove it.
"If we don't self-destruct offensively with penalties and turnovers, wow, we really could be special."
The Texans (4-5), are smarting from three consecutive losses, and are fresh off a fluke loss to the Jaguars on a tipped Hail Mary pass for a touchdown.
This will provide the perfect test to see if the Jets can construct a complete performance against a team they're supposed to beat.
"Everyone has to play on a higher level," defensive end Shaun Ellis said. "Now it's time to start blowing teams out."
In the Jets' two losses -- 10-9 to Baltimore and 9-0 to Green Bay -- their defense played well, but the offense was absent.
The defense has had difficulty at times stopping teams in third-and-long situations, and last week allowed a game-tying touchdown to the Browns late in regulation.
The entire team has been guilty of untimely penalties; the Jets have committed the fifth-most in the league.
Interspersed among those sins have been gritty comebacks, stout defense and huge special-teams plays -- all of which make the Jets a tease, leaving fans to wonder how good they can be.
"You can see flashes of it, but it just hasn't come together for all 60 minutes," center Nick Mangold said.
The glass-half-full view is that the Jets are 7-2, tied with New England and Atlanta for the best record in the NFL, and they haven't even played a complete game yet.
"It's a good thing we're 7-2 and a good thing that we aren't letting it go to their heads," Mangold said. "We understand we haven't played a complete game and if we are able to it'll be scary how good we can be."