Five Early Training Camp Wishes
I always marvel at how long it seems to take for a NFL season to return and how fast it flies by once week one arrives. The Jets begin training camp July 23rd which is ten days from now but instead of getting anxious this time around, I’m gonna savor these last few days before, my favorite six months of the year as a sports fan reappears.
My five early training camp wishes based on where we are today July 13 are as follows
1 – The quarterback microscope dissipates as either Geno Smith or Mike Vick demonstratively take the reigns of the offense.
2 – A second receiver that we all can feel confident in emerges out of this overcrowded group of rookies, possession style vets, and the last chance that Stephen Hill will be entering upon.
3 – Quinton Coples excites us all into feeling confident that he can now join Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson as week in week out impact first round picks.
4 – The offense looks able to move the chains and attack in a variety of ways during limited preseason action.
5 – The young cornerbacks don’t look overmatched and Calvin Pryor makes his presence felt on a few plays down the field. Providing diehards with a look into the type of security we can expect in the back of the secondary.
Bonus: No key injuries of course. Because is there anything worse than the anticipation of a new NFL season rained upon by a season ender to an irreplaceable piece while we are all enjoying the height of beach weather?
Forget Andre Johnson
Last week the final offseason hype headlines from around the league included Andre Johnson’s continued unhappiness about his situation in Houston. Given their currently unsettled situation at the second receiver spot, the Jets name of course popped up in some pieces locally.
Imagine, Johnson and Eric Decker teaming up to form a lethal combo. It’s a nice daydream isn’t, it? Too bad it feels like the place Johnson will end up in reality is in New England. Same unsettled situation at outside receiver, a log jam of choices that include a bunch of athletes who combined haven’t achieved the production that adds up to Johnson’s resume.
Why does it feel like the Patriots are salary cap proof. Wasn’t run stopping killer Vince Wilfork about to be a cap casualty and on his way out of town this past winter? Darrelle Revis? No problem. Julian Edelman? We’ll make it work. Damn!
Johnson is not an Idzik type. He’s too expensive and not part of the athletic youth movement in place here at Florham Park. Maybe if the Jets were more established with their starting QB, Lord Idzik would have made an exception with a Johnson or even D-Jackson type. As long as the Pats don’t get him, that’s all.
LB Antwan Barnes is hoping to be ready for training camp coming off the ACL injury that ended his first season with the Jets in 2013. Of the less heralded veteran players to keep an eye on this summer, Barnes really jumps out at me. He came here as a guy who could help with the outside pass rush. Now that Sheldon Richardson has shown what he can do lining up inside, and fellow LB Demario Davis now has an entire year of game time experience under his belt, one maybe two more guys stepping up their play would push things over the top for the defense up front.
I’ve already noted Coples. Now add Barnes to that summer camp wish list.
Quick, and Not So Quick Hits
– Geno Smith talked Super Bowl this week when asked about the Jets chances of somehow reaching the big game saying “why not us?” The question was a July filler topic of course, but his quote came off as hopeful and how most players on most teams deserve to feel at this time of year.
It brought to mind how it seems like decades ago when Rex Ryan signed the ESPN tour bus proclaiming how far his “Goddamn Snack” Jets would go. I bet even Rex would say “why not us” right now. Has anyone in the league right now altered their public personality in the same job as much as Ryan has?
-T he Mets are on a tear right now. They’ve gone from eleven out to seven in just a week’s time and are making fans believe that their recent power and offensive surge
will continue after the All Star break. When it doesn’t, and they tumble backwards into the cellar like they always do, shouldn’t they be called the Same Old Mets? After all, they always go on one streak every year that makes Shea Stadium babies want to dust off their “Ya Gotta Believe” banners.
– Happy 20th anniversary to the 1994 Pete Carroll Jets. Who shocked us all when they went up to Orchard Park and beat the Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith Bills in week one and months later at 6-5, took on the Dolphins at home in a November battle for first place. Yes folks, the dreaded Fake Spike game. Then the nosedive. 6-5 became 6-10. Soon afterwards, Carroll was canned as owner Leon Hess made his mad dash to hire the savior. The guy who said “we’re gonna turn this thing around.” Richie from Brooklyn. Rich Kotite. Happy Monday everyone.
I’m not sure why I just did that. I’m slapping my own forehead like Crazy Eyes in “Orange Is The New Black” right now. After all, there’s is no need to be on the precipice of a clean slate and press the time travel button to go in that direction. I was feeling so positive and forward looking today.
Maybe it’s the weather, or that glass half empty Jet gene we’re all born with. Its probably both just the excitement and jitters that come at the start of every wildly unpredictable Jets campaign, knowing full well that a dizzying array of uncontrollable emotions are about to overtake the physical body again.
Happiness. An early season beer muscle and not so quiet confidence. Sadness. Our familiar friend Doubt soon pays a visit, followed by another family relative, Confusion. The annual hatred and jealousy directed towards Belichick’s army in Foxboro kicks in. Some undeserved and unexpected glimmer of sunlight grows but disappears from the sky just seven days later.
Then we are inexplicably reborn on the roller coaster ride, only to be devastated yet again. For no apparent reason. We soon stave off mid season desperation thanks to some miraculous win. Only to be left on the brink way too early after an inexcusable loss to an overmatched banged up opponent that erases any good time feelings borne out of the prior miracle.
Making deals with God then temporarily pays off. Elation. Back in the playoff hunt. A short lived celebration that meets helmet to helmet with the cruelty of some season ending horror. Anger sets in. With it, the desire to drag certain heads to the guillotine for their just punishment. However when the dust settles, an acceptance, paired with a renewed hope that next year not this year, will be the one.
Maybe that next year IS this year. How it all comes together from here to February is anyone’s guess but who knows, right Geno? Anything is possible. Why not us?