Sheldon Richardson says the team is playing every game like it's an elimination game going forward. Credit: Getty Images
The playoffs are still three weeks away but the postseason began last week for the Jets. Such is the team's mentality after digging themselves a hole the three weeks prior to this weekend.
The Jets are 6-7 and a loss would in all likelihood end their season. There are currently three teams ahead of them as they fight for the final wild-card spot in the AFC — the Ravens (7-6), who currently hold the spot, Dolphins (7-6) and Chargers (6-7), who hold the tiebreaker over New York.
It is a win or go home mentality for this team, which may not make the playoffs even if they win their final three games.
“Time to go to work. Every game is a playoff game right now,” rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said. “That's how we look at it.”
That message didn't originate from head coach Rex Ryan but instead from the locker room itself, Richardson said. While Ryan has backed it up, the Jets' rookie made it a point to say the veteran leaders on this team are underscoring the urgency of the final three games.
“Every game is the playoffs, this is the playoffs for us,” Richardson said. “That's our mentality right now.”
While it was the Monday after a victory, Ryan didn't give the players the day off as usual. Instead, they went through corrections and watched game film, especially on the defensive side of the ball where the Raiders ran the ball effectively.
There was no playoff talk from Ryan or anyone in the locker room.
“My message ... today was about learning from this tape and going forward that way. It had nothing to do with playoffs or anything like that,” Ryan said. “We have to watch this tape; we have to learn from it — good, bad and ugly we need to learn from it. What happens in this league, for instance, if they're running the ball effective from a certain look or formation or whatever. If you haven't got that corrected, you're going to see that run over and over again. Same thing if you have trouble picking up a certain type of blitz, you're going to see it until you fix it.
“I think that's what it's about — getting the correction, the teaching. That's really what I mentioned to the team.”