Joe, Rex & The Confidence Of The Jets

Check out TOJ Friend Jeff Capellini’s opinion on the issue as well

Joe Namath’s opinion that Rex Ryan’s instilling of too much confidence in his players reared it’s ugly head in Oakland on Sunday, was met with a sharp response by Ryan Monday after both spoke on 1050 ESPN radio. Ryan invited Namath to practice to see how hard the Jets work and how diligently they prepare everyday for upcoming opponents. Namath perhaps was trying to share a hard lesson he had once learned himself on the way to a Super bowl title. Ryan was rightfully defending the positive results of re-branding an organization that eternally felt sorry for itself before his arrival. The harsh words from Namath may not be entirely applicable or appropriate, but the drama that played out over the radio airwaves yesterday can become a helpful foundation for the Jets. A team that has publicly stated that they must win as often as possible, in order to reach their immediate goal: playing home playoff games in January.

Namath is the symbolic patriarch of the Jets. Dick Wood. Mike Taliaferro. Remember them? We didn’t think so. Wood was the QB for the Jets in 1964, one year prior to Namath’s arrival in Green and White. Talafierro hung around backing up Namath as the Alabama star got his feet wet in the AFL. A league that Namath helped raise the awareness of, while simultaneously aiding the Jets in the local football conversation. One that was monopolized by the storied franchise from Yankee Stadium, the Giants, before Jets owner Sonny Werblin made Joe a Jet.

On Monday, Namath may have subconsciously been trying to help his beloved Jets get over the hump, by offering a warning about the thin line between having an inflated self opinion and playing desperate.

Namath’s self proclaimed turning point during the Jets only championship season came early on in 1968. Defensive coach Walt Michaels gave him an earful on the plane ride back to New York, after a putrid loss to an awful Buffalo team. In the Sept 2h9t, 1968 game at War Memorial stadium, Namath tried to do too much, throwing five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns in a shocking 37-35 loss.

Michaels implored him to let the defense do their job too and to take better care of the ball as the field general. Perhaps even going deeper into the psyche of Namath by in turn reminding him to respect all opponents in the meta message. Namath adjusted from that point forward and it showed. The Jets took off. Winning week after week in taking the Eastern division before knocking off the Raiders in the AFL championship at Shea Stadium 27-23. This prior to the miracle in Miami against the Colts.

Maybe Namath saw the ghosts of that day at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium when he ranted with radio host Michael Kay. A flashback to a moment during his own prime, where an opponent was clearly beatable had the proper execution taken place on the field.

Ryan had an entirely different set of circumstances facing him as he entered the Jets family. “The Same Old Jets” 2008 version, had just went from 8-3 led by coach Eric Mangini and QB Brett Favre, to 9-7. A typical collapse that took them from first place to out of the playoffs, an ending to another once promising season, that only reinforced the nickname that Jet loyalists had loathed wearing through endless offseasons.

Ryan wasted no time in rebranding the Jets when he told the world during his first press conference that he wouldn’t kiss Bill Belicheck’s rings. He then took the Jets in his debut season of 2009 from almost dead to the AFC Championship in Indianapolis. It was the first sighting for many, of a Jets team would fight until the last second on the clock, until the last breath of a dying season. Jets fans have loved him and stuck by him ever since. Just like his players do.

Ryan’s encore began with a look inside the team, thanks to HBO’s Hard Knocks. A view that furthered the die hardsappreciation for a coach who maybe for the first time in club history, wears his colors loudly and proudly. What followed was yet another road tour through the AFC playoffs in January, which included an improbable win in Foxboro. A victory perhaps only trumped in Jets history by Namath’s Jets 16-7 Super Bowl upset in 1969.

When the 2010 season ended in Pittsburgh, Ryan then took it a step further. He declared New York the Jets town, and the new shared stadium the home of the Jets. Not the Giants. The bravado was not received well by many on the outside to say the least. Especially Giants fans. It was music to the ears of Jets fans though. A cult like collection of crazies who have had to endure second class status since it was stamped on the New York Titans birth certificate back in 1960.

On Sunday the Jets began an imposing road swing that included Ryan’s former team the Ravens and the hated Patriots. Directly in front of them however, was a team that many saw as the weakest of the three teams in this stretch. The Raiders. An organization that has undergone a decade of confusion, a myriad of coaches and quarterbacks, and to put it plainly, has not been very Raider-like.

Without three time All Pro C Nick Mangold, the Jets came out with a shrewd dink and dunk gameplan on offense thatprotected a makeshift offensive line and helped Gang Green jump out to 17-7 lead. Then an old time Jets Raiders AFL battle ensued as the Silver and Black, using a world class speed that may soon demand attention across the NFL, raced their way to 24 unanswered points. The barrage was enough to help lead Al Davis’s “Rai-duhs” to a 34-24 win.

The loss surprised many including Namath who attributed it to the Jets being too self absorbed. A personality that he opined “started at the top.” Maybe however, a better way for the Jets to keep their edge in the future, especially in getting ready for games that sit before “marquee matchups” in prime time, might be the one that CB Darrelle Revis suggested. Instead of toning down the good feeling inside of Florham Park, the Jets might want to listen to, and follow their defensive leader Revis who said that ALL teams are gunning for the Jets. This fact alone should of course keep the Jets on their toes at all times.

Revis is right. The Jets ARE the hunted now. Not only because for the first time since Namath dropped back to throw, they’ve sat in the national spotlight for an extended period of time. Or because they make news when they talk. It’s because Rex Ryan’s Jets are good. Very good. Exciting too. With notable NFL stars all over the field, on both sides of the ball. With that comes the new responsibility for being ready every Sunday for sixty minutes.

The adjustment from being confident to delivering knockout punches before opponents can get up off the canvas, will lead to a stockpile of victories that can finally put them in position to overtake AFC East kings, New England. A group that, aside from their slip up on Sunday in Buffalo, makes a habit of giving lesser teams no chance and no life right from the first drive of the game.

One can argue that the Jets greatest legend, Joe Namath, was out of place when he stuck his nose in Rex’s business. It can’t be argued however, that the Jets can only benefit from Ryan’s miraculous psychology work that began in 2009, by improving upon it in this way as this season develops.

If nothing else, the loss to the Raiders combined with Namath’s comments, can be the foundation where upon the Jets can springboard themselves from a team that has fallen just short two years in a row, to one that wins the amount of games required to host postseason ones. A scenario that could help change the Jets flight of 2011 from one that again misses the ultimate mark, to a safe landing inside of Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5th, 2012. Date and site of Super Bowl Forty six.

Darrelle Revis: The GOAT?

Vote here at SB Nation on who you think the greatest New York Jet of all-time is…

Oh, that Rex Ryan…never shy with a compliment…like this one about Darrelle Revis

“One day we’re gonna say that this is the best Jet in the history of the New York Jet franchise, I believe that.”

Ryan made that comment when interviewed for Revis’ spot on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players in the league countdown. His final ranking hasn’t been revealed yet, but you have to assume he will be somewhere in the top ten.

However, let’s get back to Ryan’s comment about Revis becoming the greatest New York Jet of all time.

I am only 24 years old, I can’t act like I watched people like Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Winston Hill, Freeman McNeil, and Joe Klecko in action on a game by game basis. Yet, that doesn’t mean I haven’t studied up on my history and been schooled by older family members and fans. When you think about the discussion for the GOAT when it comes to the Jets…

  • It is going to start and end with Joe Namath until this team wins another Super Bowl or two. I know Namath’s numbers don’t back up his Hall of Fame status but the guy is icon who transcends the sport. He is an integral part of the greatest upset in league history and set the precedent for making a bold guarantee before a game and then backing it up.
  • Don Maynard is a Hall of Fame receiver who wasn’t a flashy guy. His production and consistency speaks for itself.
  • Curtis Martin is one of the greatest running backs in the history of the league and was a complete class act for the Jets franchise for nearly a decade.
  • Lineman get no love, but Winston Hill was a 4 time AFL All-Star and 4 time Pro-Bowler. He paved the way for the rushing attack that led the Jets to a victory in Super Bowl III. While on lineman, Nick Mangold’s resume compares pretty favorably to Revis’ right now and Ryan isn’t mentioning him in the GOAT discussion.
  • How about the New York Sack Exchange? Revis still needs to leap frog players like Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko.
  • You could even argue Revis is still behind people like Wesley Walker, Wayne Chrebert and a host of other Jets when it comes to filling out the GOAT resume.

The season Revis put together in 2009 was the best individual season I ever saw by a Jet and from what I have heard, arguably the best in team history. Yet, that was only one season. Revis was great last year, after about week 7. It is going to take another 6-8 elite, All-Pro caliber seasons and a championship or two to put Revis in the discussion. He certainly has the talent to do it…but #24 still has a ways to go before being the GOAT.

Keep in mind, Rex Ryan loves defense and especially loves cornerbacks. Darrelle Revis is his dream player, so he will always talk him up.

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #1

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A short and sweet review of episode 1 of Hard Knocks –

1. Overall, I was a little disappointed. Rex Ryan’s speech in the beginning had me ready to jump out of my seat and start fighting all the Giants fans around me (good thing I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be typing this right now). However, after that we spent a little too much time with Kevin Basped, Aaron Kia, Brashton Satele, and Jason Davis. I would’ve liked to see a little more Nick Mangold, Braylon Edwards, and Shonn Greene among others.

2. Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott didn’t disappoint. You have to love Jenkins passion on the field. He was going crazy during that goal-line drill. Scott was entertaining, as expected. I’m glad we got to hear his ribbing of Mark Brunell.

3. It sounds like the groundwork is being laid for John Conner to take Tony Richardson’s job. I would urge the Jets coaching staff to use extreme caution in this “battle.” It would be incredibly foolish to cut Tony Richardson, who is the strongest veteran presence in the huddle, especially with Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca now gone. It is one thing to gradually assimilate Conner into the offense but Richardson still has value on this team and should remain the de facto staring fullback, even if Conner eventually ends up taking more reps.

4. Broadway Joe…always fun to watch, although you certainly got the vibe everybody in the quarterback meeting room was humoring him and yessing him to death on his suggestions.

5. We didn’t see anything in this episode to make you think the Revis negotiations are ending anytime soon.

6. Nice catch Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and even you Mark Sanchez but work on those botched snaps.

7. Cafe Ryan? You knew the big guy would be sneaking pretzels and MMs, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.

8. Where were you? Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Jerricho Cotchery, Jim Leonhard, David Harris and  D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

Next Week – A big helping of Mike Westhoff and Mark Brunell on Old Timer’s Day at Hard Knocks.

Jets Thursday Training Camp Round-Up

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Some assorted thoughts on Jets training camp as we head towards the weekend –

First off, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

The Jets early practice was cut short by rain this morning and they only had a special teams session in the afternoon. Hence, the normal avalanche of information about specific plays in practice wasn’t released today, however here is a run down of the biggest headlines:

  • Joe Namath graced the organization with his presence today and was quick to pronounce his belief the Jets were poised to win the Super Bowl. For some reason this was reported as a major story. I am not sure it is so shocking that a Jets legend who is involved in working with the organization is going to say he is confident the Jets will be really good in 2010. It is about as surprising as Rex Ryan saying he thinks the Jets will have the best defense in the NFL, which he says about 11 times a day.
  • Kris Jenkins had a scare today when he took a shot to his leg and admitted he had a similar feeling to when he tore his ligaments last year. However, everything held together and he said surviving that shot has boosted his confidence about the strength of his leg heading into this season. I would still expect Jenkins to have very limited reps in the pre-season. It will also be interesting to see the amount of playing time Jenkins gets in the beginning of the regular season as the Jets attempt to keep him fresh for the stretch run. Sione Pouha is a more than capable back-up, who can provide a high amount of quality reps off the bench.
  • Linebacker Brashton Satele’s injury isn’t that serious and he should be back at practice within in the next few days.
  • Steve Weatherford was rested for this afternoon’s special teams practice. Apparently punter TJ Conley has improved substantially from last season but it sounds like Weatherford still has a very strong hold on the job.
  • Mike Westhoff announced today that Kyle Wilson will be the Jets primary punt returner and Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner heading into the pre-season. I would still expect to see some Jim Leonhard on punt return for certain situations, along with Antonio Cromartie getting a few reps occasionally at both punt returner and kick returner. Aundrae Allison or Joe McKnight should also get some reps in the pre-season to be given a chance to make an impression.
  • Rex Ryan signed the Jets logo on Adam Schefter’s ESPN training camp tour bus “Soon To Be Champs.”…you have to love the big guy.

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  • From listening to every single interview on WFAN and ESPN Radio today at Jets camp (I was stuck working construction)…it sounds like there has been no tangible progress on the Revis deal and we should all be settling in for a long wait. In the meantime, Revis has been pairing up with old his buddy Chad Ochocino Johnson to work on the OCNN Network. All of his teammates said all the right things about supporting his decision and believing the team could be fine without him, while he sorts out his contract situation. Overall, I would say Rex Ryan has absolutely made his imprint across this roster. The confidence across the board from all the players is extremely encouraging.
  • It continues to sound like Matt Slauson has a very good shot of beating out rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard position.

The Jets have a practice at 8:20 and 4:20 tomorrow and then have their annual Green and White scrimmage on Saturday at 6 PM.

A Few Shovel Fulls of TOJ TV