The New York Football Jets have entered Cortland 2014 with high expectations for the upcoming season. After Rex Ryan put on perhaps his best coaching performance last season getting his over achieving squad that was probably a 4-6 win team at best and vaulted them to a respectable .500 2nd Place finish in the AFC East. Their goals for this season are much higher as they look to seize the AFC East Title for the first time in over 12 years. Though entering the 2014 season the New England Patriots again are once again the favorites to take the crown. This is year 2 of New York Jets GM John Idzik’s rebuild or perhaps re-tool? John Idzik was left with remnants of a former 2-time AFC Championship Roster that has been run-down and depleted and filled with bloated contracts. But one year later into Idzik’s reign he has rid the roster of the bloated contracts and has brought in a new attitude to the Jets. A word that you’ve heard and will continue to hear not only throughout training camp, but during the season as well…Competition.


And of course the most intriguing competition everyone will be paying attention to throughout not only training camp but the preseason will be the quarterback battle between 2nd year pro Geno Smith and seasoned veteran Michael Vick. Right now what I’ve seen throughout training camp I’d give the nod to Geno thus far, he has looked in control: calm, cool, and collected. I think the Jets will be a lot better than people give them credit for. Geno Smith will blossom in his 2nd season with the new-found offensive pieces that Idzik has put around him. Getting arguably the #1 receiver on the market in Eric Decker who also has looked like a stud throughout training camp snagging everything he gets his hands on. CJ2K has also shown incredible burst especially coming off of knee surgery.

Will this be the year the Jets return to the playoff picture that has alluded them the past 3 seasons? We will soon find out how this team looks Aug. 7th when they play the Indianapolis Colts at home in their preseason opener. One thing that the Jets will be able to count on is their front 7, which just happens to be one of the best in football. With the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson hoping to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, had this to say, “that sounds like a rookie wall, something I never hit,” he said. “It sounds a lot like it to me.” Sheldon Richardson is one that’ll never be short of confidence as he looks to improve on his sack numbers from last season. Also along the defensive line you have reigning Team MVP Muhammad Wilkerson who was perhaps the biggest Pro-Bowl Snub from last season as he tallied a career high 10.5 sacks and was nothing short of a dominating force throughout the entire season. He may have been snubbed from the Pro-Bowl but his peers recognized how dominant of a player he was ranking him #42 among the NFL’s Top 100 Players from the 2014 Season. Also a gem was discovered last year in Damon ‘Snaks’ Harrison who became one of the top run stuffing NT’s in all of football last year while splitting time with Kenrick Ellis who also came into his own last season after taking care of off-the field concerns and injuries he stepped up in a big way in terms of the absolute depth of the defensive line rotation. Being in a contract year will bring out the best in Ellis as they continue to thrive on the mantra of competition. Another talented DE/OLB hybrid player is Quinton Coples a 6’6 athletic freak who hails from the University of North Carolina Tar Heels after switching positions and coming off injuries this may be his breakout year as he is finally healthy and he is in his 2nd year with the Outside Linebacker corp. Look for Q to reach double-digit sacks for the first time in his career as his athletic ability is really put on display playing behind the ‘Sons of Anarchy’. Speaking of injuries, an outside linebacker to keep our eyes on will be Antwan Barnes who is coming off a knee injury that put him out in Week 4 of last season that he is slowly coming back from. This will be one of the deepest front 7’s in recent memory for the Green and White. Due to concerns and having an insurance policy the Jets brought in Pass Rushing specialist Jason Babin on a 2-year deal for not only depth but to get after the opposing quarterbacks. Someone who has really stepped up in the leadership department would be 3rd year pro Demario Davis who has become a real leader for this defense.

The ‘Sexy’ Rexy with a braggadocio style may not be back with Super Bowl guarantees but this team has a Swag that hasn’t been around this team in 3 seasons. Within a span of little over a week, Dee Milliner proclaimed himself as the best corner in the game, and Pace claimed the Jets have the Best defense in the NFL. As Defensive Coordinator Dennis Thurman explains, talk is cheap. “It doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t mean anything,” Thurman said Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time in training camp. “You have to go out and play. Nobody goes out and talks their way through the National Football League. You have to perform your way through this league.”

Everyone pays the price for a penalty at Jets Training Camp in Cortland

With that being said one of the main things I took away from camp. Is accountability so any time someone committed a penalty whether it be the offense, or the defense,or even the special teams everyone did push-ups. And when I say everyone I mean everyone! I had to take a picture so you could take it all in. Everyone from the players, to the coaching staff, to the camera-men, and media coverage participated. There is just something about this team this year, it is hard to explain in words, but there is this aura around this team. Everyone seems to buy in and is willing to run through brick walls for their coach as we saw at the end of last season when Woody Johnson announced that they were bringing Rex back for at least another season the entire roster burst into excitement and joy as if they had just won the Super Bowl. This team cares for its head coach and they all seem committed to pushing themselves to the limit and beyond.


But with the Green & White Scrimmage rapidly approaching this Saturday, Geno Smith gets the nod to start the game. It is no real surprise as Smith has gotten the vast majority of snaps so far during training camp. The fans and media will get an up close look on how the offense flows and see how this team looks. ultimately what we’re going to want to look for this Saturday is if Geno seems to have built some chemistry with his new weapons and see how he orchestrates the offense. Calvin Pryor (concussion) will likely not take part says Ryan. Pryor has been cleared for physical activity, but not contact. Pryor spoke to reporters on Friday and said this was his first concussion of his career.

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