Lowered Expectations: The Changing Face of The Jets
Added by Jason Mast on August 4, 2013.
Jets camp is a circus again; it always is. Controversy was first ignited
when the new GM, John Idzik, told reporters that Rex Ryan, the boisterous,
longtime Jets coach, would not be given final say on weather Gino Smith or
Rex Ryan would be the starting QB. This is a steep drop from just four
years ago, when Rex was handed the keys to the kingdom and given autonomy
to rebuild the team however he saw fit. Even if the quarterback battle was
his decision, it might not matter, as Smith is pruportedly out of shape, a
bleak revelation only compounded by the Jets’ previously underreported
complete lack of depth at the running back position.
Yet something is different this year; it’s quieter. There aren’t a billion
reporters livestreaming directly from Canton, Skip Bayless and Stephen A
Smith, who spent all of last summer arguing over Tim Tebow’s role on the
Jets, are busy clamoring over racial slurs in Eagles camp, and amazingly,
the Jets have not appeared on a New York Post cover in months. All,
perhaps, because one thing is lacking this season: expectations.
The Jets, for the first time since Chad Pennington donned the green and
white, are supposed to lose. Coming off a 6-10 season, lacking any
established offensive weapon, and bereft of their one true superstar,
Darelle Revis, Gang Green is expected to be a last place team. Las Vegas
odds has their over/under pegged at 6.5 wins, lower than that of the
previously 1-15 Kansas City Chiefs, and ESPN’s latest power rankings had
the Jets ranked dead last, behind even the hapless Jaguars.
To the players, however, hope is not lost, only quieted, and a new
atmosphere has emerged. Gone are the days of gawdy superbowl predictions
and agitating anouncements of dominance, and in its place, a reserved
defiance has emerged. Jets linebacker David Harris, unperturbed by the
diminished expectations, told the New York Post, “Yeah, we know a lot of
people don’t expect a lot from us. That’s good.” Like many other members of
this ragtag bunch, he believes that the lack of hype will lower their
opponents’ preparedness, and allow the Jets to make a surprise playoff run.
““I’m pretty sure a lot of teams already have us checked off on their
schedule,” Left Guard Willie Colon agreed, “We have to show up on Sunday
and punch a lot of people in the mouth and wake them up.”
Ryan, as always, is pacing the philosophy of this team, turning ESPN and
Vegas’s lowered predictions into motivation, and espousing the rebellious
spirit. “”If you’re a competitor, how does that thing not get to you? How
does that not motivate you?” the perpetually vocal coach told Newsday,
“It’s almost like, well, we’re going to show you. Because we don’t believe
those are true . . . We feel we’ll be much better than that.”
So this quiet circus could actually be a blessing in disguise for a team
so accustomed to controversy. The new aura may finally allow them to focus
on playing football and overcoming expectations, rather than living up to
lofty predictions the media and their mouths often made for them. Good
news, too, since with up to 8 new starters to incorporate on defense and 4
on offense, they’ll have plenty to work on.