Jets owner fires back

As he walked out on to the practice field this morning, he had a clear vision of what he had to do. Jets owner Woody Johnson was determined to clear up a misconception reported in the past 48 hours about himself and his head coach. <p>

There were several published reports this morning that stated Herman Edwards and Johnson were feuding.

The Newark Star –Ledger reported that Edwards suggested if Johnson did not appreciate his work ethic, and how he handled the team, then he should fire him.

Johnson said after Wednesday's practice, "The talent of this team is equal or better than anything else out there. The question is why we start off slowly. I don't know the answer to that." Usually when an owner makes this kind of statement, it leads to the theory the head coach is the one responsible for the sub-par record.

Johnson believes his quotes were taken out of context.

"I don't know how you guys (the media) took what I said and converted it into what you converted it into. I want to say here unequivocally that you misinterpreted what I said," said Johnson.

He later went on to say that he is a firm believer in Edwards.

" Nobody asked me any questions about the coaches, and nobody asked me any questions about Herman Edwards," said Johnson. "But I am here to tell you that I have 100 percent confidence in Herman Edwards. If anyone can straighten this situation out its Herman Edwards, he did it last year. I have 100 percent confidence in Herm and the rest of the coaches."

The two had a length conversation this morning around 12:30. The conversation lasted somewhere between 8-10 minutes. There was even an occasional smile flashed between the two.

"Herm and I had a conversation today which I am not going to report on, " said Johnson. "We are all in this thing together; we are all trying to get our guys ready for 4 o'clock this Sunday. In the best frame of mind, the best conditioning, and the best training, so that we can do a good job for the fans."

Johnson even went so far as to say that this 0-3 start, and the reported feud between himself and the head coach, made their relationship stronger.

To illustrate this point he used a wartime analogy.

"I think our (Herman and my) relationship is stronger," said Johnson. "You find people who have gone to Afghanistan, talk to the generals who come back from those kind of battles, and talk about the troops who have been in those battles together, and there is a stronger bond because it is us against them. It creates that kind of mentality, we are going to do our own business and stay here and get it right."

And as for the comments he made about the team "having as much talent as anyone else in the league," on Friday, he changed his tune slightly.

"If you add up a numerical number, we have 6 years with a winning record," said the owner. "We have some people out, a quarterback, and some others, but the balance of the people on this team are good players. We are at least in the middle of the league or better. In terms of our talent, we have talent we can win with."

Asked by Rich Cimini why he did not say this yesterday, Johnson responded "Well there is your clarification for you."

Either way, Johnson holds out hope that this year's squad can be successful.

"I have confidence in the players," said Johnson. "I am optimistic that they can perform, even though Herman has had some adversity, which you have written about. To overcome that kind of adversity is no small task but we have good players and we have a good coach and we have optimistic fans I am optimistic. It is in the realm of possibilities to be successful this season. But we are going to have to start playing better"


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