The New York Jets (5-4) are coming off a big victory over the New Orleans Saints as they head into their bye week. Not only is the team’s record better than last season (3-6) at this point but there has been a culture shift within the team itself.
As Jets fans remember all too well the 2012 season seemed to be about everything but football. Anonymous players making controversial statements in the media and constant unrelenting scrutiny on the team along with the never ending quarterback controversy issue thanks to the acquisition of Tim Tebow crippled the team. The Jets faded down the stretch last year as the “circus” atmosphere engulfed the organization making focusing on football nearly impossible.
The Jets were a rudderless ship heading into the 2013 offseason with more questions than answers. Enter general manager John Idzik who immediately closed off the media leaks having the organization in control of information and took a patient approach to building the team. This approach has led to a new team first mentality as players seemed to be more concerned with their teammates having success then themselves.
“It’s a party for us out there once one guy gets the enthusiasm going,” Jets rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said. “We like to get after it, we are all brothers, we take care of each other protect each other on the field and nothing but encouragement.”
“Eleven brothers are hard to beat, that is our philosophy,” linebacker Demario Davis explained. “Everybody is a family over there on defense … we go out and play for the man besides us … there are a lot of selfless plays out there.”
Even newly signed WR/KR Josh Cribbs is buying into the unselfish nature of the team saying, “I love the coverage units making tackles out there … whatever I can do to help this football team I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it. I feel like my young self again, this is like a rebirth being on this team.”
After the worst loss of the season to the Cincinnati Bengals (49-9) the Jets coaching staff would need to get the team focused on the upcoming game against the high powered New Orleans Saints. The players took their lead from head coach Rex Ryan as he prepared them for an improved performance over last week.
“Coach Ryan said put that one (Bengals loss) behind us,” safety Dawan Landry said. “A challenge was presented to us … everybody looked at us and said we had to pick-it-up. We came out today everyman was accountable for themselves, it was a great team win.”
Linebacker Demario Davis expressed how coach Ryan refocused the team saying, “Coach’s (Ryan’s) mentality this week was bounce-back … a team can go a lot of different ways when you have a tough loss (Bengals game) like that … Rex just wanted us to go and bounce-back.”
The 2013 Jets are in position to make the postseason as they have an off week going into the latter half of the schedule. The team has not played well down the stretch during last two years but this group brings the right approach for sustained consistent success. With some extra time to review and prepare there is no reason to believe the team won’t continue to progress and play meaningful games for the rest of the season. The old expression is “there’s no ‘I’ in team,” well there is no “I” in these Jets.