Not only are the New York Jets playing poorly on Sundays, but they are not practicing with a sense of urgency, according to two defensive players.
In recent days, safety Bradley McDougald and linebacker Avery Williamson have questioned the team’s practice habits. Intentional or not, their comments will be perceived as criticism of coach Adam Gase, who has come under fire after an 0-2 start.
“It all goes back to practice. We’ve had some slow practices, and it correlates to the game,” McDougald told SNY TV after Sunday’s 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. “We need to have a complete, full week of just great practices, and I don’t think we’ve had that yet.
“The sooner we realize that and hone in on how important practice is and coming out and winning at practice, then it will translate to the games on Sunday.”
Williamson, in his weekly spot Tuesday on WFAN radio, agreed with McDougald’s assessment.
“Sometimes, in practice, guys are missing tackles or we’re not doing things right,” Williamson said. “We haven’t been as crisp as we should be at times. … We don’t start fast at practice.”
Same for the games.
The Jets have trailed at halftime by the same score, 21-3, in both losses. Against the 49ers, they allowed an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, the start of another poor performance by the defense.
Gase said he received a text Tuesday from Williamson, who apparently wanted to clarify his radio remarks. The coach said he wasn’t aware of the comments.
“Until [the PR department] tells me, I probably won’t know because I don’t even open internet browsers right now,” Gase joked.
The players’ opinions are somewhat surprising because defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is known for his intense practices, and Gase disagreed with their sentiment.
“Nobody said anything during the week,” he said. “I felt like we had really good tempo to practice. Sometimes an individual guy, if he wants to change something, we talk about it every week. It’s not like it’s not an open forum. If somebody doesn’t like the way something is going, we can easily speak up.”
The Jets travel to the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) on Sunday, looking to avoid their second consecutive 0-3 start. Gase is 7-11 as the Jets’ coach, with nine of the losses by at least 10 points.
Gase said if the players are unhappy with the practice intensity, now is the time to change it.
“If that’s the feeling they have, we have a chance to ramp it up and make sure we’re doing what we need to do in individuals and pick up the tempo,” he said. “I haven’t necessarily felt that.”