Florham Park, N.J.- As the doors from the cafeteria to the indoor practice field swung open, the sound of Eminem’s, “Not Afraid,” greeted reporters eardrums. The next song was Bonecrusher’s (Yeah that guy, as awful as he was you have to remember the unintentional hilarity that was Bonecrusher) “Never Scared,” and at this point it became obvious a theme was beginning to take shape.
Are the Jets being written off by most pundits and talking heads, not named Trent Dilfer? Sure, do they care? Of course not, people have been doubting the Jets all year, scratch that they have been doubting the Jets since their inception, but the players never bought into the negative energy surrounding them and emerged from the extremely bizarre 2010 regular season with 11 wins and their second straight playoff appearance.
Of course, it’s not about whether or not the Jets are scared, a lack of confidence is one thing you won’t hear people criticizing the Jets for, in fact it’s just the opposite. People have been turned off by the Jets self confidence, but again the players and their coach just shrug it off and go about their business refusing to change their tune.
Saturday the Jets should have all hands on deck as Trevor Pryce was the only Jets who sat out practice today. James Ihedigbo, Damien Woody and Eric Smith all returned to the practice field and yesterday Rex Ryan expressed belief that all his players will be available for Saturday’s game.
“I believe he (Woody) will. I believe he’s going to be back. I know, I feel good that Eric Smith will be back.” Ryan said yesterday, “He’s done well. We’ve done some contact stuff with him and he seems to be doing really well, so I think we’re going to be healthy.”
Yesterday Woody, Tweeted that he was back and is fully expecting to play. Wayne Hunter has filled in admirably for Woody, but with the Colts twin pass rush of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, it will be help the Jets if they have their starting o-line healthy and playing the entire game.
When asked about Ihedigbo yesterday Ryan said, “He won’t be ready to go (the) first day of practice, but I think as the week goes on, I think he’s targeted to play.” But today Ihedigbo was out on the practice field during the media portion of practice. None of the players seemed limited during this time, but it’s doubtful they all fully practiced today, more details will be available about this later. Regardless of how much they practiced today it seems they are all on track to contribute this weekend.
“Trevor Pryce did not practice today, but he’s going to be fine. Guys that were limited, James Ihedigbo, Sione (Pouha), Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Bryan Thomas, Damien Woody, but he was out there with the ones running some reps.” Ryan said at today’s press conference.
The music that played during stretching set the tone for the energetic practice that followed, the focus and intensity level of the players was crisp and on point and the players have their eyes on revenging last season’s loss to the Colts.
They Colts may have ended the Jets season last year, but this isn’t the same Colts team and these players believe this Jets team has improved from last season. All season long these players have been talking about the Super Bowl as their ultimate goal, their mission remains the same and their confidence remains as high as ever.
Are the Jets Scared? Never.
The talent is there for the Jets to win this game, the confidence is without a doubt there, the question will be, will the execution be there? If the Jets lose this Saturday it certainly won’t be because they were scared, the talent and confidence are great and all, but all the talent and confidence in the world can’t win a playoff game alone.
Last season the Jets hung with the Colts through three quarters of football until Peyton Manning flat out, out-executed them in the fourth to seal the victory. This weekend the Jets will need to flip the script and out-execute Manning if they want to play in New England next week.