NFL coaches are always seeking new ways to help their team bond and to clear their heads during the dog days of the season. Skeeball, anyone?
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan organized a team outing to go to the video-game-and-pub-grub Saturday, perhaps cutting short some additional preparation and final game-planning sessions for Sunday's contest the following afternoon. Could that be viewed as a slight to the Buffalo Bills team they were playing the next day?
You'd have to think that Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who served as a Jets assistant under Ryan for years, found out and let his players know prior to the Bills' 37-14 whitewashing of the Jets.
Bills center Eric Wood said the team didn't focus on the D&B intelligence they received, but did take time to keep it in the backs of their minds.
Bills C Eric Wood: "Not much" talk before game about NYJ trip to Dave & Busters. "It's almost so in-your-face, it didn't need to be said."
— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) November 17, 2013
Did Ryan second-guess his decision? Was it fodder for motivation for the Bills? Here's what Ryan said Sunday night, per the Star-Ledger.
“I don’t know why that’s added motivation,” Ryan said. “We do different things when we’re on the road. I don’t know how that would give added motivation. Your players go out in groups or whatever [the night before the game]. We went out as a team.”
Offensive guard Willie Colon was asked about the outing and defended the decision to go out.
“I’m not going to seek excuses,” Colon said. “We’re pros. Rex wanted us to stay together. We’re trying to build team camaraderie. We’re trying to stay together as a team. Rex wanted to break the monotony of us being on the road and have a chance for guys to get to know each other. We’ve got a lot of new faces on the team. It was a team-bonding moment. That’s all it was. It had nothing to do with our actions today on the field.”
What made this outing unique was that the Jets had not done anything the night before during the season, although Ryan said he had similar camaraderie-building trips during training camp.
Tables turned, Colon said he would not view another team playing the Jets going out for some laughs at a restaurant the night before as a source of motivation.
“It wouldn’t mean nothing to me because you still have to play football,” he said. “I don’t care who we’re going against. If they go and see the Empire State Building, that’s them. If it was for them (motivation for the Bills), it is. But I’m saying if it was done to me, it wouldn’t motivate me no different (than) if they were in the hotel.
“Whatever motivation they used, if they feel like that was motivation, then fine. We beat ourselves today. They didn’t beat us. The bottom line is, when you step into people’s houses and you’re not on your A game, you’re going to get your tails kicked. We weren’t on our A game, so that’s what happened.”
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