Head Coach Rex Ryan with pictured NT Kris Jenkins and LB Larry Izzo particpate in the first training camp practice at SUNY Cortland. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Rain, rain stay. The rains have come to opening day of camp and it has actually helped lift the spirits of the players. Cooling temperatures and rain make it feel more like the end of August than the beginning, which means players feel closer to game time and the subsequent emotions that come with it are palatable.
Despite the foul weather, coveted free agents LB Bart Scott and CB Lito Sheppard made statement play after statement play at full speed in pads. Also, underpaid Leon Washington is all business showing that regardless of his contract status, his energy level is higher than what the temperature should be. Add to the mix a new coach with a true track record and thoroughbred blood line and a bonafide franchise caliber quarterback to boot makes this a Jets opening day more special than in years past.
Both the head coach’s and the coveted rookie QB had, if anything, rather well received press conferences. Both were in complete control and exerted overwhelming confidence, with a nice touch of humor and humility sprinkled in.
Sanchez appeared more polished and down to earth than a retired player with years of broadcasting under his belt. He was respectful of all the reporters and showed both a sweeping awareness of the entire process, as well detailed information of individual players at key positions, which he apparently obtained during minicamps. This maybe his greatest attribute. One that was lost in light of his natural physical abilities. That is, his ability to bond with key players, quickly. Furthermore, he appears to understand and appreciate the state of mind and the nuances that make the player great or lead them astray and tries to keep that in the forefront of his mind when addressing that player directly or through the media. This tactful, dynamic thinking is an attribute that could help solidify Sanchez as a perennial All Pro for years to come. Of course his arm won’t hurt either.
Unlike his predecessor, win or lose, Rex Ryan will regularly make your ribs hurt. He’s funny and he gives you a confidence that the Jets haven’t seen since the Tuna. He knows he belongs up there and so do you after you hear him talk. You know he knows how to win, you know he hates to lose and you know he has the respect of his greatest players, especially the one’s who followed him to the Jets. Since he doesn’t have to waste everyone’s time, including his own convincing people he belongs, he can take the dead space between poignant Q&A and throw down some much needed humor, whether he is blasting his own fight against weight, or joking with players and the media.
Yes, the Jets signed a flurry of coveted free agents prior to Ryan and had a young Belichick protégé’ from New England, but the QB they brought was on his last leg and had no future with the organization. Last year felt more like pieces to a puzzle. This year, you sense a direction, a chemistry, a meaning. Hopefully this new outlook translates into destiny.
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