The Jets talked two weeks ago about getting to the bye week with a 5-1, affording them a chance to heal and get rested up for the stretch run.
Since 1990, when the bye week first started, there has been little comparable bump for home teams coming off the week’s rest when stacked against teams without a break. Teams coming off a bye are winning just 0.3 percent more of their games than a team who played seven days earlier.
Nevertheless, the Jets say the past week off has been instrumental in helping them get focused and refreshed ahead of the push for the playoffs and the division title.
“I didn’t really watch any football,” linebacker Bryan Thomas said of his time off. “I just spent time with family and got away from it all. I mean, I like football but when you’re around it so much, you need to get away from it. You need to rid yourself of the stress of playing this game.”
The Jets had off from late Monday afternoon last week and didn’t have to report till this past Monday. Some players, like Darrelle Revis who has been plagued by a hamstring injury, chose to stick around to rehab and get healthy. Others like Thomas or fellow linebacker Bart Scott who jetted off to Miami, wanted to get away. Scott said he did a “bunch of nothing — laid out on the beach” for his time off. Then there is Robert Turner, who went hunting.
“It was great, not to think about football and not to beat up your body like we do, every day,” Turner said. “Just being able to separate yourself from the game, keep it at arm’s length if you will, means you come back fresher.”
There was no fitness plan, no required training, no curfews or anything of that nature as head coach Rex Ryan merely told the players to “be responsible and smart.” In fact, the Jets coaching staff encouraged the players to get away from the field and to step back from all the training for a few days.
“When I was younger in the league, I used to work out every day, train hard during the bye,” fullback Tony Richardson said. “Now, I take the time, you need to, you need to be able to take care of yourself and be healthy and refreshed. If you don’t, I don’t want to say you burn out, but you can tire yourself out if you don’t take the time, if you don’t refresh yourself.”
The impact of this extended rest, however, can be a break in rhythm and a sluggish team. As statistics show, teams coming off the bye fare relatively no better than teams without the week rest. Former coach Eric Mangini would give the players just a couple days off during their bye week, choosing to hold practice for part of the week off. Under Ryan, the Jets have been having longer periods off, and even though they dropped their post-bye week game last season, Tony Richardson says the freedom is a good thing.
“The tempo has been real good,” Richardson said. “The tempo has been real good but more then anything, you can tell that the guys are fresh mentally. That’s what is important, that mental component.”