Jets Turn Page To 2014 NFL Season

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The time for talk is over and the New York Jets are ready for the big stage: the 2014 NFL season which begins tonight in Seattle.

It's been approximately eight months and one week since December 29, 2013 when the Jets last played an NFL game that counted in the standings, defeating the Miami Dolphins in week 17 of the 2013 NFL season.

The Jets also defeated the same Oakland team 37-27 on December 8 at home that they'll see in just two days. But if you ask the team around Florham Park none of last year's results matter as it's time to turn the page and write a new chapter due to facing a revamped Raiders squad.

"I’ve seen pretty much what I’d expect from those guys. (They are) veteran guys, very smart, very savvy, crafty guys," said Geno Smith.

"We’ve got to pay attention to Charles Woodson back there. He’s one of the best there is. They’ve got a bunch of guys that are new to their defense, but not new to the NFL, so they understand how to play football. We’ve got to prepare to go out there and play a hard game."

With every offseason (NFL Draft, minicamp, training camp and preseason) comes the renewed feeling of optimism and the goal of winning a Super Bowl which starts with a successful week one.

After a sloppy practice on Wednesday in preparation of the opener, Head Coach Rex Ryan was pleased with today's practice pointing to yesterday's action not being as physical as he would have liked saying, "Today outstanding practice. Focus was great and execution on both sides of the ball I thought was terrific."

Injury wise it was the same as yesterday for the team, with the exception of Antonio Allen who returned as a full participant to practice today.

When asked if it was fair to say that Dee Milliner won't play, Ryan responded "Never say never, even in a limited role if he's healthy and we think he can help us he'll play."

Ultimately the team hasn't ruled Milliner out just yet for Sunday. Off the field with recent headlines of the NFL's enhanced enforcement of suspensions regarding its domestic abuse policy, rookie wideout Quincy Enunwa's arrest stemming from a hotel dispute with his girlfriend came as a surprise and is being taken seriously by the team. After practice Coach Ryan could not comment on details because the case is a pending legal matter.

Regarding his status on the 53-man roster, Ryan added "I found out before he was cut and put on the practice squad but I can't really remember the timetable," said Ryan.

"Everyone knows that this is a major issue and understanding the league's stance on it, I think obviously it's appropriate."

Concerning the improvements the Raiders made over the offseason, Ryan feels the vast experience they've gained with the influx of veteran signings will be a major factor for them this year.

"My first take was alright we're getting ready to play the Raiders, a really young football team and then you look at the roster and they're probably the most experienced team in the league," said Ryan. "Certainly with the guys that they've added they are frontline players."

And with facing a familar foe in former Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, Ryan gave a tremendous sign of respect when a reporter asked if Tuck is as disruptive as he used to be.

"Oh gosh, I certainly hope not! Especially not this week," Ryan joked.

Preseason rankings are what Ryan thrives on proving wrong, and today wasn't any different as he said being ranked in the high twenties on average league-wide; the pundits have severely underrated his club.

"After you cut through page one and two and start seeing 10 teams that are better than you, you say 'yeah we're better than what they say.'"

With the running backs, the team does not envision any disgruntled backs as the coaches believe it's feasible to get all three guys (Bilal Powell, Chris Johnson and Ivory) enough snaps.

If someone's lighting it up they'll go with the hot hand but the plan is to have all three see action in every game this year.

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Eventually the newly acquired Walter Powell may see some time in the kick and punt return game. The team has Jalen Saunders and Hakim Saalim slotted in those spots right now.

For the four and five receivers like Greg Salas, McGaughey says the goal for the season is simply to utilize what they bring to the table in order to help the team.

"They all have to have a special skill set in order to be a situational player filling out the bottom part of the roster." McGaughey said, "They wouldn't be here if they didn't."

Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhingweg

Ending the last phase of preparation heading into the season the team wants the offense to be prepared for any surprises.

"Getting the hard work done on the field, there's just no substitute for that, the most well prepared team comes out on top," said Mornhinweg.

For him, Geno has taken the reigns of the offense and become more comfortable with the command of things as opposed to starting from the ground up as a rookie signal-caller.

"He did a heck of a job last season all within the game play at the line of scrimmage." Mornhinweg said, "He's off and running with those things, with the freedom he's been given."

Jace Amaro has also impressed Mornhinweg after a slow start to his Jets career with what he calls "A fine second part of training camp and he's had a lot of learning."

In his vast experience in the NFL, with three backs the coach feels should not deviate from what the level of play the team hopes to accomplish.

"We don't care how we get it done, who scores or who gets the credit," Mornhinweg said.

Opening up the playbook more due to the level of players at his disposal this year will be a common theme. What Mornhinweg also hopes is that when both he and Geno hit rough patches they'll be able to bounce back and keep treading forward.

Defensive Coordinator Dennis Thurman

As the spotlight has squarely been on the Jets secondary, Thurman acknowledges the challenges that have come with the injuries and roster changes, primarily in starting a safety turned corner opening week.

"Antonio (Allen)'s athletic, long, rangy and has excellent ball skills." Thurman said, "He won't be confronted with the one-on-one matchup so that'll take an adjustment, but overall we believe he's up to the task."

Even bringing on new additions Philip Adams and Leon McFadden has been an experience, but Thurman said we shouldn't expect to see too much asked of them this week. "We're not going to ask to much of them this week but they are learning the system to get up to speed with the terminology and our system."

Calvin Pryor is ahead of most rookie safeties according to Thurman, as him being back there with Dawan (Landry) has escalated his learning curb exponentially. "Dawan Landry is an extension of the coaching staff out there on the field," said Thurman.

Longstanding linebacker Calvin Pace says the best way that the defensive front can help the secondary is to allieviate the pressure on the secondary and hurry the rookie.

"Stop the run, first and foremost, and get pressure on Derek Carr. That's pretty much it." Pace said, "It's on us to help those guys on the back end. If they give us little time I think it'll be a good game for us."

Notes

  • There will be a WHITEOUT on Sunday, all fans are asked to wear white and players will wear the all white jerseys
  • Whiteout rally towels will be handed out to fans entering the stadium
  • Jets Rewards members will receive 500 reward points for entering the stadium 30 minutes before kickoff
  • In the rehab area during practice and as the team announced officially after: CB Josh Bush (quads), LB IK Enemkpali (foot), CB Dee Milliner (ankle) were all held of practice for the second day in a row
  • The three players are not expected to play on Sunday although the team is not ruling out Milliner's return even if its in a more limited fashion
  • The team plans to ease in their new additions, Leon McFadden and Phillip Adams into the secondary unit
  • The Jets are also prepared to see the wildcat from former Jets' turned Raidfers' Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano
  • Rex Ryan joked about his attire at the press conference, saying "For our fans out there, hopefully we get the white out. That's the outfit, this will be good. Real nice attire for the game supporting the organization especially with the white sleeves, I think it's a good look."

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