Jets head indoors to prepare for Bills in Detroit
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets prepared all week for the snow, freezing cold and blustery winds of blizzard-belted Buffalo.
Well, they can leave the gloves, heavy jackets and scarves at home.
After a few bone-chilling practices this week, Rex Ryan brought his team indoors Friday since the NFL moved the Jets’ game against the Bills on Sunday to the climate-controlled confines of Detroit’s Ford Field on Monday night.
“It’s kind of crazy,” punter Ryan Quigley said, “that it would be the week that we’re playing Buffalo on the road — and we get an indoor game out of it.”
The Jets returned from a bye-week break thinking they would have to deal with frigid conditions Sunday after a lake-effect storm dumped about 7 feet of snow on the Buffalo area since Monday. With residents digging out and many still snowed in, the NFL decided Thursday night to move the game to the indoor home of the Lions.
Ryan acknowledged that the league likely wanted to do all it could to keep the game in Buffalo to maintain the Bills’ home-field advantage, but the Jets had seen the “unbelievable pictures” of the snow-smacked areas. Some Bills players needed snowmobiles to get them around as the team departed for Detroit on Friday.
“Is there an advantage to us? I’m sure it’s going to be an easier venue for us to play in than Buffalo,” Ryan said. “Buffalo’s a tough place to play, so I’m happy in that regard, but (as) a fan of football, I would have liked to have gone to Buffalo.”
With no weather worries in Detroit, that could be a boost for the speedsters on both sides such as New York quarterback Michael Vick, wide receiver Percy Harvin, running back Chris Johnson and Buffalo wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
“We might play a little faster without the snow,” Ryan joked.
But for some, the prospect of a quicker-playing field makes little difference to them.
“The surface does not matter,” center Nick Mangold said. “I’m slow, and I’m slow.”
Added defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who is from the St. Louis area: “I’ve been playing in snow for a minute back home. I’m kind of used to it and was looking forward to it. It’s football.”
The Jets slightly altered their plans from their early week schedule to add a conditioning session to their walkthrough Saturday. The team will travel to Detroit on Sunday and hold their final walkthrough and meetings, as they normally would for a Monday night game.
“It gives us an extra day to get our bodies right and get as fresh as possible,” left guard Oday Aboushi said. “If anything, I’d think it’s an upgrade not having to deal with the snow or the cold being inside.”
It certainly is for the special teams unit, particularly Quigley and kicker Nick Folk, who no longer have to worry about wicked crosswinds whipping at their backs.
“I’m all for having no wind,” Quigley said. “No wind, period, is great with me. It’s pretty funny because Rex was saying today, ‘I know that Nick and Ryan are probably the happiest guys here.’ It doesn’t change much as far as your preparation, but mentally, not going into Buffalo — one of the toughest places to play as far as elements go — I mean, it definitely takes a little weight off your shoulders.
“Now I can just focus on my technique and I don’t have to worry about anything else affecting it. Just go out there and play.”
The move to Detroit will serve as a sudden homecoming for Nick Bellore, a backup linebacker and special teams standout who played his college ball at Central Michigan. He’s expecting at least 50 friends and family members to show up for the game after his aunt and uncle in the Buffalo area had originally planned to host about 30 relatives there.
“They diverted that mission to Detroit,” Bellore said, smiling. “You don’t really think too much about the weather for the games, but I would’ve liked to have played in the snow. I don’t know how many other guys would have. But yeah, it’ll be nice and warm inside there.”
NOTES: S Jaiquawn Jarrett was a full participant after being limited earlier in the week by a calf issue. “Everybody was a full go and everybody’s probable for the game,” Ryan said. “No excuses. Here we come.” ... Richardson on whether the Jets are thinking about payback after losing to the Bills 43-23 last month: “Yeah, you can say that. Yeah, a little somethin’ — a little somethin’ somethin’ for ’em.”
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