There's no question that the Jets lost the one player they could least afford to lose when Darrelle Revis tore his ACL on Sunday afternoon in Miami.
No team in the current NFL has built their defense around one player the way the Jets have built their defense around Revis and, as we saw in Pittsburgh during Week 2, his absence sends everything off the rails for a unit that simply isn't elite without Revis on the field. Revis was a human flaw concealer and now the harsh light of reality has spilled back onto the team.
Those truths hit Rex Ryan hard when he made the announcement of Revis' injury on Monday. He took the podium for his press conference as if he was about to announce that someone ran over his dog in the street and proceeded to move deeper into despair as he spun the rest of the tale of woe about Revis' condition.
Look, we get that Ryan had to be feeling spectacularly glum when he went to make that announcement. Short of his own firing, it is hard to imagine a more difficult football-related matter for the head coach to grapple with and the fact that he did it honestly shouldn't come as a surprise given Ryan's inability to engage in coachspeak.
This is a place where coachspeak is the right course of action, though. Getting up there and saying "Next man up" and that no one player can ruin things for an entire team might be the lowest rung of dishonesty (not to mention disrespectful of what the player in question means to your team) but it sets the tone that your team needs to hear.
They're reassuring lies, like when someone says that a loved one who died has moved on to a better place, designed to keep everyone from a self-pitying cycle that accomplishes nothing. Most people want to feel hopeful about what lies ahead, something that Ryan didn't do in his press conference.
Looking at Ryan on Monday felt like a free pass for players to say that there's no reason to go the extra mile in the coming weeks because the team has no chance to win now that Revis is out of the lineup. It becomes a crutch and an excuse for a team that was playing without much of a margin for error when Revis was totally healthy.
The team needs to believe that Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson can handle things at cornerback and they need to feel like the right response in regard to Revis' injury is to do more than they've been doing up to this point in the season so that the team can survive without its best player. That might be an impossible outcome for the team to reach, but they can't go into games thinking that all hope for the season exited along with Revis.
We're not going to tell you that any of this will make a difference in terms of results because it is hard to look at these Jets and see anything other than a very rough 13 games before the end of the season. That's not enough of a reason to throw in the towel, however, and Ryan needs to do a better job of making it clear that reaction won't be acceptable on this Jets team.