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Ryan: Jets, fans both have to get going early

Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan Credit: Getty Images

Jim Leonhard can't put his finger on it.

"It's hard to say," the Jets safety said. "It's one of those things."

Damien Woody is equally befuddled, unable to come up with a logical explanation for why the Jets are only 2-2 at New Meadowlands Stadium and appear to be wearing concrete cleats at the outset of games in their $1.6-billion digs.

"It's like the strangest thing," right tackle Woody said. "It's just crazy. We go on the road and I'm not saying we play that much better on the road, but it seems almost like we ratchet it up even more because we are on the road and every thing is against us and everybody is against us.

"We need to take that same mentality and bring it home, knowing that our fans are going to be right there for us, and if we get off to that fast start, that will keep our fans energized and it will make it that much tougher on our opponents."

So tough, mind you, that coach Rex Ryan is willing to make a guarantee: If the home team's fans bring it Sunday when the Jets host the Texans and help create a decided home-field advantage, the Jets will be 8-2 by sundown.

"When [our fans at home] are into it, I don't see how people can beat us," Ryan told Newsday. "I don't see anybody beating us when our fans are buzzing. I've been here for a few games, like the second half of that New England game [Week 2, Sept. 19]. Nobody was beating us. I felt it when we played Cincinnati last year. I'm like, 'Whew! I feel bad for you [Bengals coach Marv [Lewis], but there's no chance this week.' Not when our fans were like that, not when our team was like that. So that's what you want. That's what I'm looking forward to seeing."

That's why Ryan went on his unprovoked speech earlier in the week, imploring the fans to finish their tailgating early enough to be in their seats by the time pregame introductions commence, bringing the noise before the opening kickoff sails into the crisp autumn air a little after 1 p.m.

"When I challenged the fans - and thing is, I realize my job is to coach the team; I understand that - but I want them to know how their energy goes through our team," Ryan said. "When we sense that energy and they are there, it energizes the whole football team, it energizes me. It energizes everybody like, 'Hey, OK.' It doesn't feel like we've just got a 45-man roster out there. It feels like we've got a lot more than that when you've got the crowd buzzing."

In order to get that vibe going, the Jets will have to lay off the sleeping pills early. In their four home games, they've led at the half only once - a 9-0 cushion against the Vikings - and dominating performances have been seriously lacking.

"We haven't been ahead of anybody, and for us to really play the style of football we want to play, we need to jump out on somebody," Ryan said. "That's when you can unleash your defense, that's when you can unleash your ground-and-pound, and that's the blueprint that we are looking for. Let's get out on people and then force turnovers. We haven't had an interception in I don't know how long.

"Again, we've got a good opponent here, but this is not about the opponent. This is about us and just being focused, not killing ourselves with penalties, the attention to detail and just going and attacking it like, 'Hey, we are going to get this done.' That's what we are trying to do - go for a complete game, four quarters. And if we are playing at our best, I think we are going to be tough to beat."

New York Sports