Joe Namath isn't the only former Jets player critical of his old team. Former Jets tackle Damien Woody, who retired after last season, doesn't sound very optimistic about the Jets turning things around after two straight losses to the Raiders and Ravens.
"Can they turn it around? I really don't know. Right now, the early returns don't look good," Woody said on a conference call with a handful of reporters. "I'm just going off what I see. What I see is a team that can't run the football, they can't protect the passer, the quarterback (Mark Sanchez) is struggling, completing 55 percent of his passes."
Woody is especially troubled by head coach Rex Ryan's statement earlier in the week that the Jets will now return to the "Ground & Pound" offense that he espoused his first two seasons as the Jets' coach. Ryan said the team got away from that identity the first month of the season, but he wants to see a more run-oriented offense.
To Woody, that's easier said than done.
"The thing I have a problem with, Rex says we’re going to go back to ground and pound. We're going to run the ball. But that's something you have to do from Day 1. You can't just flip the switch and say we're going to be a rushing team. The running game is so hard. It's almost impossible to just flip the switch and be a running game."
Woody said that issue is compounded by the new rules regarding limited practices in pads. As part of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, padded practices have been dramatically reduced during the regular season. Teams can have only 14 padded practices in the regular season, and 11 of those have to come in the first 11 weeks.
"That hurts the Jets really bad," said Woody, now an ESPN analyst. "In order to go back and be this ground and pound team, you have to practice that. You have to practice that in pads. It’s hard to really establish that physicality. You see it on both sides of the football. You see a slip in the run defense. The practice rule has really hurt them."