FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan and the Jets unveiled a new look in front of the Gang Green faithful on the last day of the team’s mini-camp on Thursday. To the surprise of everyone — reporters, fans and players — the Jets defense took the field sporting black practice uniforms.
“I had no idea about them. I just found them in my locker and put it on. It was a surprise to me, but I like them. I like the black,” Kyle Wilson said.
But for Ryan, this new style carries a deeper substance.
“It’s different. One thing about football players is they love competition and those black jerseys stick out to the opposite side of the ball. If we have a red zone emphasis or ball security drill — the unit I think did the best in that specific drill will wear the jerseys in the following practice. It makes them think what the emphasis are.”
Ryan credited the motivational move to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during his time in Miami, but noted that the team didn’t need to be reminded of points of emphasis or re-motivated, rather an added incentive for players to perform well in practice.
Unlike stickers on the helmet for individual performance, made popular on the collegiate level, this idea rewards a unit for a great collective effort — re-emphasizing the importance of team chemistry.
Regardless of substance, however, players like Antonio Cromartie love the intimidation factor the black uniforms.
“It felt good wearing those black jerseys. We just want to come out and be intimidating, period. Not just because we’re wearing different color jerseys. That’s one thing we’ve been trying to work on this entire offseason: be dominant in all facets of the game,” Cromartie said.
“Pretty much everyone wants to wear them,” Wilson said.
Ryan, always an innovator when it comes to motivational tactics, once again is implementing another scheme. Coming off, what he called the lowest point confidence and chemistry wise after their Week 17 loss to the Dolphins, this could be something that puts last season’s debacle even further in the review.