Jets coach Rex Ryan upset at 'cowards'Lions starving for wins ... Ben's injury dangerous ... Brees aims to stay healthy
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
|Quarterback Tim Tebow of the New York Jets. (JOE SKIPPER/Reuters)
Think the New York Jets players have enjoyed the circus surrounding backup quarterback Tim Tebow, whose first season in New York has had little to do with what he has done on the field?
His teammates certainly must be fed up with the off-field noise calling for starter Mark Sanchez's benching every time he tosses an incomplete pass. The latest to pass for an uproar around the team came this week when a stream of unnamed players told the New York Daily News what they really think of Tebow.
One called him "terrible." Another said the team "can't win running that (crap)," referring to a Tebow-type offence. And when asked to compare the two Jets' quarterbacks, offensive lineman Matt Slauson said: "It's not even close. All the other quarterbacks know it."
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Jets coach Rex Ryan called those who ripped Tebow anonymously "cowards." Of course, big Rex hasn't been brave enough to use his backup for more than the occasional play, no matter how rough things have been in the team's 3-6 season.
"If you're going to make a negative comment, that's fine," Ryan said. "We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses. But put your name to it. I think people will respect you a lot more.
"I absolutely addressed it, because I think it's a cowardly thing."
LIONS STARVING FOR WINS
For some of the NFL's 4-5 teams, the prospects for making the playoffs look more optimistic than others.
Count the Detroit Lions among the group where the prognosis is more bleak. One of the league's more under-achieving teams so far this season, the Lions begin the task of getting back into the mix this Sunday against the Packers at home in the Motor City.
A win at Ford Field would get them to .500 as they head into the traditional Thanksgiving Day game, but with the 8-1 Texans as dinner guests, that's hardly a break.
In fact, the Lions have the toughest remaining schedule based on the record of their opponents this season (45-18).The Texans game is followed by the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears.
"Our goal is a one-game winning streak this week," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters on Wednesday. "I think that that's the only thing that we can work for right now. We're not going to prepare for any other games. We're going to prepare for this one and need to get a win there.
"We'll leave math for mathematicians and statisticians and stuff like that."
BREES AIMS TO AVOID WOUNDED QB CLUB
Drew Brees says there's no secret to avoid joining the wounded warriors of his profession, but there are things that can be done to lessen the chances of getting crushed.
Brees said he has only had one concussion in his career, in 2005 when he was with the San Diego Chargers. But when he sees a run like last week when three high-profile QBs went down with head injuries, it reminds him of the inevitable danger of his craft.
"A lot of cases, you just stand in the pocket and trust the guys around you," Brees told reporters in New Orleans on Wednesday. "You're throwing out of a minefield at times. Guys roll up on you or hit you when you are in a compromised position. At times it's luck.
"I try to have a great maintenance routine, all those things you try to do to make yourself as durable as possible and thank your lucky stars when you make it out of a game or out of a season unscathed."
Unscathed, perhaps, but not unhit. Brees said there isn't a quarterback in the league that doesn't expect to take his licks.
"Sometimes there's nothing you can do to prevent it or protect against it other than stand in there and take a shot," Brees said. "It's just part of the game. You go into every game saying you are ready to get hit and get hit hard and you still have to throw the ball accurately downfield and be ready to get up and do it again."
BEN'S RIB INJURY DANGEROUS
Few in the NFL would question the heart of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But his heart may be the big reason the injury he sustained Monday night may be even more serious than first feared.
Big Ben left the game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a reported shoulder injury, but upon further examination it was discovered that Roethlisberger also had a dislocated rib in a delicate area. In fact, team medical staff told the big QB that that rib was in danger of puncturing his aorta.
"That's the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it could puncture the aorta," Roethlisberger told reporters in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. "I got four hours of sleep the last two nights trying to sleep in a chair."
Roethlisberger has already been ruled out of this Sunday's key divisional meeting with the Baltimore Ravens, but the big question is for how much longer he will be sidelined.
The shoulder sprain may be the lesser of the two injuries, but there is no fixed timetable on when he could return.
"From what (the team doctor) said, there is no case study over the exact same thing," Roethlisberger said. "We're just trying to talk to people ... because we don't know."
In the meantime, backup Byron Leftwich will get the ball for his first start since 2009.