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Rex baffled by Jets slow starts

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan reacts

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan reacts to a call on the field during the first half. (Oct. 2, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Rex Ryan is hardly ever at a loss for words.

But even he is having a hard time figuring out why the Jets can't get things in gear early on in games. It happened again in last night's 24-6 win over the hapless Dolphins at MetLife Stadium, when they gained only 14 yards on their first four possessions and let Reggie Bush carve them up for 36 yards on Miami's very first play from scrimmage.

So he's trying to come up with something to change that snail-like pace at the outset.

"I was going to tell our guys it’s the second quarter," Ryan said this afternoon. "Maybe if it’s a home game, put it on the board as a ‘2.’ I think if we do that, we’ll be just fine. It’s crazy because when you look at the struggles we’ve had, especially offensively, it kind of blows me away because it’s the same plays, it’s the same everything else. We just execute much better when the game gets going."

"Believe me, we’ve searched for answers and I’m just not sure. We are going to make some [play] calls, do different things. I’m at a loss for it. It seems strange, but once we get past that stage and we start having a little success, then 'Boom!' We start moving the ball effectively. That’s certainly a challenge to us."

That's when Ryan cracked the Jets may need to change their pregame fuel.

"Drink coffee?" he said. "I don't know, man. We've got to find something."

Miami rolled up 173 yards of first-quarter offense compared to 10 for the Jets. Ryan's crew didn't get even collect a first down until 6:17 remained in the half when, facing a third-and-9 at their own 20, Mark Sanchez connected on a 14-yard hook up with Jeremy Kerley.

"We just haven't been flying out of the gate like you expect," Ryan said. "I think the emotion is there, the intensity is there. But we just don't seem as sharp as we do in, say, the second quarter and moving forward. It’s kind of a feeling out process and we have to get better clearly as a team in the first quarter."

With the Chargers coming to town in five days, it's imperative that they do so. San Diego, which had a bye on Sunday, ranks sixth in the league in offense, averaging 416.2 yards per game. Since the Chargers lead the league with an average time of possession of 35:17, the Jets will have to capitalize on every scoring opportunity they get.

"We have to win this one," Ryan said. "It’s against an excellent football team. We are underdogs at our own stadium, which seems really odd to me. But they are an excellent team. They’ve got a ton of weapons, especially on offense. So it’s going to be a great challenge, but we definitely need to get this win in our backyard, in front of our fans, then have that bye and then the second part of the season will start. So this is a critical game for us and we are approaching it that way.

“If we play to the best of our abilities, I think we will come out on top."
 

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