Jets say they're ready for comeback season


Posted Jul 31, 2012


With no Super Bowl guarantees to speak of, Rex Ryan and crew appear focused on building team chemistry with the regular season just around the corner.

Darrelle Revis showed up, still dropping hints about dissatisfaction with his contract. Rex Ryan didn't promise a Super Bowl win-or even a Super Bowl appearance-but did call himself the best defensive coach in football and offer up some more plans to unveil gadgetry on offense.

Speaking of gadgets, every single move by Tim Tebow was breathlessly reported and analyzed. And a former controversial Jets wide receiver now working in the media gave media relations advice to a current controversial Jets wide receiver.

In other words: Just another routine opening to training camp for the New York Jets.

The world's most interesting football team arrived in upstate Cortland last week and embarked upon putting the misery of last season behind it and producing a 2012 season worthy of the constant hype and hoopla.

"Everybody's just got a look in their eye like 'We're ready,'" starting quarterback-for now, anyway-Mark Sanchez told reporters. "We expect nothing but the best from each other, we're going to hold each other accountable, act like professionals the entire season and play really well. That's the plan and we don't intend on deviating."

The Jets will be in good shape-and an oft-anticipated quarterback controversy will fail to materialize-if Sanchez handles opposing pass rushes like he did his initial meeting with the press. One reporter accidentally called Sanchez "Tim," to which Sanchez calmly replied "I'm Mark."

For the moment, anyway, Tebow, remains the jack-of-all-trades firmly entrenched behind Sanchez. Tebow got 12 second-team snaps during Friday's workout, during which he went 4-for-5 and rushed twice for 15 yards. Sanchez looked sharper during 16 first-team snaps in which he was 7-of-8 with an interception.

Of course, it was Tebow who was the subject of a daily "Tebow Watch" by multiple news outlets. While Tebow is the only Jets player warranting such coverage, the Wildcat quarterback-turned-possible-kick-returner probably won't be the only player who will pull double duty for the Jets.

Ryan said Friday he'd like to get All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie involved on offense and Cromartie told the New York Daily News Saturday that the Jets are working on a "Cro Package" in which he'll play wide receiver. Cromartie actually played five snaps at wide receiver last season.

"If you have a player like Cromartie and he can do other things then you would use him," said offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who utilized Champ Bailey in a similar fashion while coaching with the Washington Redskins in 2001. "You should use all of your weapons."

Cromartie would provide an interesting addition to a wide receiver corps currently anchored-in more ways than one-by Santonio Holmes. The perpetually unhappy wide receiver, who was yanked off the field during the final series of last season and pulled himself out of what turned out to be his final OTA workout because he felt he was getting too many reps, was one of the final players to report to Cortland Thursday and had a typically terse session with reporters Friday.

Holmes has just two 100-yard receiving games as a Jet and hasn't even recorded an 800-yard season in his two years. He was told by ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson-who had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and seven 100-yard receiving games during his blusterous four-year stint with the Jets from 1996-1999-to let his play do the talking.

"Just go out and play and let the play speak for you," Johnson told reporters. "That's the way my approach was, that I'm going to play and do what I need to do and then I'm going to stick my tongue out at you at the end of the day."

Ryan hasn't been quite as vociferous following the disappointing 2011, but he said he finds plenty of motivation in those predicting the Jets to finish in the bottom half of the AFC East and that he still considers himself the NFL's top defensive mind.

"I look at myself as the best defensive coach in football," Ryan said. "That's saying something, because (Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau is pretty darn good. Bill Belichick is pretty good. But that's the way I've always believed. And you know what, I believe it, because the guys I coach with, there's no doubt about that, and the guys I have coached."

One of the very best Ryan has coached is Revis, who removed the biggest potential distraction for the Jets by deciding to report to camp on time and not hold out for the third time in six NFL seasons. Revis did miss most of practice Sunday with a tight right hamstring.

"I haven't been to a lot of training camps in the past," Revis said Thursday as he and the reporters surrounding him all laughed.

Revis, entering the third year of a four-year, $46 million deal he continually refers to as a "Band-Aid," said he wasn't unhappy with his contract but took until last week to decide he wasn't holding out. Of course, had he not reported to camp, he would have lost a reporting bonus of $1 million and been subjected to daily fines.

Revis said he hoped the Jets would ink him to another extension that would give him the opportunity to finish his career in New York and hinted he would be dissatisfied if they didn't-proving that even the sunniest of days for the Jets feature clouds on the horizon.

"Hopefully they will see me as maybe the face of the franchise guy and lock me up," Revis told ESPNNewYork.com. "But if not then I think we all kind of know where it's going. In terms of, you know, I'm a person, it's my career and I have to do what I need to do for my family. I think that's the biggest thing."


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