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After 4-4 start, Ryan giving Jets time off to get away from football

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan is giving his players six days off, and he's pushing his assistant coaches out of the New York Jets' facility by Thursday.

He wants his entire team to use the bye week to get away from football and put what went from a promising start to a disappointing downhill spiral behind them.

"We're definitely sick about it," Ryan said Monday.

The rookie head coach insists his confidence has not wavered at 4-4, but thinks the Jets should have been at least 6-2 at this point. After all, they started 3-0 and the defense is ranked second in the league and the running game is No. 1.

"We haven't put a complete game together," right tackle Damien Woody said. "That's one thing we need to do moving forward with the season."

The closest the Jets have come was last weekend, when they routed Oakland 38-0. But that victory seems like a distant memory after a 30-25 loss to Miami on Sunday.

"We lost a couple of these games, just nail biters," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "We just need to figure out a way to start winning these games instead of losing them. We need to show up in all three phases to do that."

The Jets' special teams unit, solid all year, allowed Ted Ginn Jr. to return two kickoffs for touchdowns -- one for 100 yards and another for 101. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said it was "the absolute worst" performance by any of his units in his 27 NFL seasons.

"It's just a bitter taste," Westhoff said. "It'll go away ... when they're lowering me in the grave."

Yep, the Jets took this one particularly hard, especially after dominating the Dolphins in every statistical category. They outgained Miami 378-104 and had 23 first downs compared to the Dolphins' 10.

"We're sick (about) the fact we're 4-4 when we've played better than that statistically," Ryan said. "Again, you don't win through statistics. You win on the field and you've got to play for 60 minutes and find ways to win. Right now, seems like we're snakebit a bit."

It certainly seemed that way Sunday, when Ginn had his two long returns and Jason Taylor returned a fumble by Shonn Greene for a touchdown. The Jets have allowed six touchdowns without their defense on the field.

"It makes it tough because we know that we've beaten ourselves a lot," safety Kerry Rhodes said.

Ryan was particularly angry about some of presnap penalties, including two on tight end Ben Hartsock. One was a false start on a 2-point conversion that forced the Jets into kicking an extra point. The other was an illegal shift in the fourth quarter that negated a successful conversion and kept it a five-point game instead of a three-point deficit for the Jets.

"We've got to be better," Ryan said. "If that's benching somebody, that's maybe what we have to do."

Linebacker Bart Scott was asked what can be done to correct things.

"Let me look into my crystal ball," Scott said with his usual sarcasm. "If I knew that, I would've won the lottery by now and retired."

Ryan has taken blame for what has transpired, saying there's room for improvement everywhere, including his coaching. He has also taken some criticism for being too cocky and having an oversized ego. Former Colts coach Tony Dungy was critical of Ryan and Scott for not giving the Dolphins enough credit in their postgame comments.

On NBC's NFL show, Dungy said: "My mother used to say, 'When you win, say very little. When you lose, say less.'"

"I was brought up differently," Ryan said defiantly. "I respect everybody, but I fear nobody. My thing is we're not going to get anywhere by tiptoeing. That's how I feel about it. People can take offense to it. That's fine and dandy. I'm not going to change who I am and how I coach because Tony Dungy said something. I respect him, he's a great man and a great coach, but I'm going to be who I am. I've said that from Day 1 because I know I'll be successful that way."

For now, the Jets will go back home to their families and take their long break, which Ryan planned months ago.

"Being able to get away from football and just get a lot of stuff out of the system is going to be good for us, especially with the situation we're in right now," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "We can refresh our minds and come back ready to roll" against Jacksonville.

NOTES: Rhodes said he was throwing balls into the stands at fans wearing his jersey Sunday, as he always does before games, when he and several Dolphins players got into a shoving match. "I guess they took a little exception to it," he said. "It wasn't meant to mess with them in the beginning, but as the situation evolved, it escalated a little bit."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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