OPTIMISM IS GREAT, HARD WORK IS BETTER
Summer is officially over. Not for you kids still in school, and not for you parents dealing with those kids being home from school, but to the football world summer doesn't end after Labor Day, it ends with the start of training camp.
The Jets have a new head coach, a new general manager and they have a whole lot more talent littered throughout the roster than they have the past few seasons. That influx of talent combined with the energy of having a new coach, that everyone really seems to have embraced, has everyone feeling very optimistic.
But one by one, the players that spoke to the media, refused to be content with that optimism as they stressed the importance of making sure they put the necessary work in.
"I thought we had a great offseason, we picked up some great talent for us. We put in some good work (in mini-camp) and yes, every year there's optimism going into camp and this year's the same," Nick Mangold said. "Especially now with the new players and new coaches. It should be a great opportunity for us to put some good work in and hopefully do some good things this year.
"We got high expectations but it's going to require the work in training camp and I think we did some great work this spring but we got to build on that and we got to continue to work."
The players were wary of making any bold predictions or putting too much pressure on themselves. There were no bold proclamations guaranteeing Super Bowl victories, just an acknowledgment of the high expectations and the amount of hard work that will be required to live up to those expectations.
"Expectations are always high coming into the season. I'm excited about this year, obviously we've had some change, like you said in the offseason with the coaching staff, adding some veteran players who've had a lot of success in this league," Eric Decker said. "To tell you specific goals, I can't do that. I think the biggest thing for us is to kind of have the mentality to come in and kind of chop away at the wood one day at a time. I think we still have a period of time where we still have to find that chemistry, find our identity with a new system and that's what training camp is for."
For some players, like David Harris, the difference in talent doesn't matter. There's always high expectations and a lot of optimism this time of year.
"We know there's high expectations and it's no different than any other year," Harris said. "Our goal is still to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. As a professional NFL player that's your goal every year. So, it's no different.
"I look at it that way every year. Nobody goes into the season like, 'oh man we're going to miss the playoffs this year, we're only going to win one game.' No, nobody goes into any season like that. We always expect the best and we're just going to go out there and work everyday and try and do it."
For other players, like Geno Smith, the optimism is great and all but they still know they have to bust their butts to earn their spot and prove they can carry the load.
"Yes, man. Yes. I am very eager," Smith said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We've got to take it day-by-day, but I'm extremely excited for this team."
The key to fulfilling these high expectations and delivering on this optimism through hard work is all about commitment, according to Super Bowl champion Darrelle Revis, and having perfect attendance on day one is a great start (yes that means Muhammad Wilkerson will not be holding out).
"To be committed. Everybody's here today, perfect attendance, so I think tomorrow will be the first day for us to be really committed through the next six months. It's going to be a long year for us," Revis said. "We look very great on paper, but at the same time when I say commitment, we got to put everything into this season and just try to compete as best we can."
Everyone around the league can see the improvement in the talent the Jets have made this offseason. For most around the league this just means the Jets will have a great defense and will be much more competitive but they still won't be a playoff threat. But the fans and players have higher aspirations. Are the playoffs realistic? What about a Super Bowl run?
"Everything is realistic," Mangold said. "We just got to put the work in."
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