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Jets Visit Ground Zero, 9/11 Opener Means More To All

In less than ten days the New York Jets will have their season and home opener in the newly named MetLife Stadium.  Rex Ryan is primed and ready to make another run towards the playoffs and the Jets first Super Bowl appearance in more than 40 years.

On a day where the team and its fans should be screaming from the roof tops may see it just a little quieter that Sunday.  Where some will be shouting with joy, others will be a little more somber for remembrance on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th tragedy.

The New York Jets took a visit to the World Trade Center site yesterday, showing their respect to the site and appreciation to the workers that are rebuilding the hallowed ground.  They visited the site after their annual luncheon at Ciprini on Wall Street to get a first-hand look at the rebuilding of a site where many lost their lives.

All players, coaches and front office visited the site, where they surprised workers during lunch.  A trip like this for the Jets should give enough motivation and fill them with pride that they will represent New York on September 11th.

“It was a great morale boost for the thousands of construction workers that are there around the clock and our police officers and security workers,” PA spokeswoman Jamie Loftus said.

Dustin Keller was quoted as saying “Everyone was just kinda in awe”.

Asked why the Jets took the team to Ground Zero, Keller said: “9/11 is a huge part of the history of New York City. We’re the New York Jets, and we should know our history.”  Several of Keller’s teammates Tweeted their experience after the visit on Twitter.

“It was really cool just to see — obviously, it’s been a while since 9/11 — the towers get back up,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “It’s hard to explain — so many people here lost family members or friends, or knew somebody. It’s kinda touching when you think about it, all the lives lost, and to get the building back up there … it’s awesome.

“Very humbling experience,” tweeted cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “Just walked out to see Ground Zero. A really heart felt experience God Bless everyone.”  Many of the Tweets reflected heart felt emotions by the team.

It shows how powerful a took Twitter can be.  Where one can express deep heart felt emotion and convey it instantly to thousands to feel for themselves.  The teams emotions could be felt not just by those who read their tweets, but to the workers and other staff on site.

“When you think about the fact that 3,000 people got up that morning and all they wanted to do was go to work — they weren’t doing anything reckless, they weren’t taking any chances — they just wanted to go to work and they lost their lives. When you think about that, it’s hard not be moved,” Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said.

The quotes above come courtesy of Brian Costello & Steve Serby’s article in the NY Post.  The full article has more from the Jets and their visit to Ground Zero.  Reading it may me wish I was there to experience it with them.  I have seen the site before so I can understand their emotion in seeing it for the first time.

Sometimes the grimmest of tragedies and experiences make us hold our heads higher for the future.  Perhaps it is good that the Jets will be home on Sunday, September 11th.  After visiting the site, the workers, looking at photographs, and soaking it all into their hearts, perhaps they will play with a confidence and emotion they need to start the season.

The team must take pride in knowing they play for New York & New Jersey.  They represent fans of New York and New Jersey.  They represent those who not just bled green and white, but gave it all on that fateful day.  To the fans in memory who watch from above and have the best seats in the house.

The fans at the game and watching on tv will not just be cheering their team, but cheering with pride.  Remembering what that day means to all parties involved and to those family and friends each of us lost.  Ten years may have gone by, but to some, it still feels like yesterday.

As I walk around the tailgating faithful, I am sure I will feel a different vibe amongst everyone.  Many ready for the Jets to defeat the Cowboys, and others remembering the tragedies of that day.  It will be a home game like no other.  The feeling amongst fans will be a mixed bag.  Some may not know how to react, if they should be cheerful or not.  But all will be thankful they are together at a New York Jets game to share it with everyone.

So this September 11th, do not cheer just for your favorite team, remember those who lost their lives.  The Jets will take with them their visit to Ground Zero next Sunday.  Those emotions, thoughts, and feelings will be with them on the field, before the opening kick off and when the game is over.  Sports has an uncanny way of bringing us together through tragedy.  The past three years have seen many go through tragedy.  Maybe Sunday’s remembrance is what we need as Americans to bring us all together again.

Jets Need To Focus On Season, Not One Game

Sometimes, football seems so easy, right? Now that the NFL has resumed operations players, owners, coaches, fans, media, can all travel down that hard working path that is the NFL season..

The prime directive? To win the Super Bowl. Unless you are Rex Ryan, in which case the goal is apparently to stay on the front pages, be heard in the opening segments of SportsCenter, and beat the New England Patriots.

Ryan is one of the better coaches the NFL has to offer. The New York Jets, regardless of whether you like, love, hate, or despise them, are a very good football team. The short list of top Super Bowl contenders this season? Jets, Steelers, Patriots, Eagles, Packers. Until a few seasons ago the Jets were an afterthought.

It doesn’t matter what one thinks about Ryan and the Jets. They are a solid team. The Jets feature a successful young quarterback in Mark Sanchez, a big play receiver in Santonio Holmes, and a hard-hitting and well-coached defense, anchored by two of the leagues best cover corners in Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

The last two AFC title games have featured the Jets and the last three seasons, they’ve gone 9-7, 9-7, and 10-6. The Jets are no doubt a serious contender, able to beat any opponent any week of the season.  But with a shortened training camp due to the lockout, these guys need to get ready & work as a team faster to make the same run they have been making.

There’s a problem though — the New England Patriots. This is where it gets strange because when another team is a problem it’s usually because they can’t be beat.  And Rex loves to find ways to focus his time, energy, and mouth on the Patriots.

Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shakes hands with Rex Ryan of the New York on November 22, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 31-14. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

For years, the Boston Red Sox had a two-headed monster that they were fighting: an inability to win a World Series and a New York rival that always seemed to have their number. In 2004 they cut off both heads, beating the Yankees in the ALCS and then sweeping St. Louis in the World Series.

The Jets already know how to beat New England. Last season the Jets took two of three from the Pats including a demoralizing defeat handed to the Pats in Foxboro in the playoffs. The Patriots should be in the rearview mirror for the Jets now, it’s all about the Super Bowl right?

Wrong, Rex Ryan has an odd obsession with New England and he just can’t stop talking about them. Every press conference seems to be punctuated with a bitter speech about how much better the Jets are than the Patriots. Last year in the run-up to a divisional playoff game in New England, he declared the game the most important game in Jets history.  Wouldn’t that be Super Bowl III?

The Jets won 28-21 and it wasn’t really that close. The problem, of course, is that the Jets followed up that win with a stinker in the AFC title game, losing to the Steelers after falling behind 24-3 in the first half.  They left their blood, sweat, and tears in Foxboro and played with their heart at Heinz Field.  But heart was not enough.

It’s probably hard for a team to show up and play as if their season is on the line when they’ve just won the biggest game in team history. The goal is the Super Bowl and the problem with Ryan’s irrational and constant obsession with the Patriots is that the Jets will never be awarded a Super Bowl ring for beating New England.

In a recent press conference, Ryan continued his infinite stream of New England comedy.

“I think we have to find somebody out there to beat New England besides us, I think that would help,” Ryan said. “Anybody out there that wants to sign up for it? Are you good enough as a team to beat the New England Patriots? Forget about us, are you good enough to go out and beat the New England Patriots? I’m challenging the league.”

Rex Ryan has two signature traits. One is running his mouth, and the other is fielding very good football teams. One used to be his time for shutting down a buffet.  At some point one of those traits may begin to take away form the other. Everything Ryan says at this point is something he’s said already in some form.  He is going into more reruns than Sinfeld.

Two weeks ago, Ryan claimed the Jets team he has for the upcoming 2011 season is his best team ever. Something he’s claimed in each of the last two seasons, just like he’s claimed they would win the Super Bowl.  How can one make that claim when all the players had yet to be signed or known?  This 2011 team has yet to play in a game together for Rex to determine if they are better than last year.  But that is Rex Ryan.

Sean Ellis recently signed with the Patriots after being dropped by Gang Green.  That move did not sit too well with Rex.  It just added more fuel to an ever burning bonfire.  Ellis is determined to let the Jets know how wrong the move was on their part.

Confidence is nice. Showing your team that you believe in them is good too. Eventually, those words become somewhat meaningless if there’s no follow through.

Stop worrying about New England, the rest of the league, and stop telling everyone how good you are and how good your team is Rex. Show a better poker face instead of letting your ego write checks your butt can’t cash.  If you want people to believe you, you don’t need to say anything; you just need to win.

New York Jets Fans Cope After Another Super Bowl

The past two weeks I have not been as excited for the Super Bowl I guess as I should be.  Even a fellow fan John Allen passed along the same comment.  He was thinking that for some reason his favorite team should be playing this past Sunday, but for some reason, they ended up losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl and it is tough to believe he can’t win another.

The Steelers jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship, but fell behind a quick 21-3 to the Packers on Sunday night. At the end of the night, Clay Matthews was throwing a WWE championship belt over Rodgers’ shoulder.  Ric Flair is taking credit for having the WWE send the belt to him, as told to ESPN,  to use if they won the Super Bowl.

How do us Jets fans feel now?

No one can really say what the result would have been on Sunday night had the Jets been playing in the Steelers’ place. Jet fans may feel like they definitely would have won the game, but again, we cannot say for sure. It’s hard not to feel disappointed these last few nights.  One never know what their team would do if they were never in that situation.

Credit: bettor.com

The Super Bowl was right there; it was in our grasp. The Canyon of Heroes was ready for the parade that should have been filled with streamers and fans jammed in to see Gang Green. Everything was going as planned, just for it all to come crashing down.

Just imagine: Rex Ryan could have been saying “I told you all we were going to do it, AND WE DID IT!” on that podium Sunday night standing next to owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Mark Sanchez.

Bart Scott could have been having another postgame interview that would go viral on the Internet. “WORTH THE WAIT,” he could be yelling in Sal Paolantonio’s face.  Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery could be running all over Cowboys Stadium with their arms outstretched like airplanes while wearing their “New York Jets Super Bowl Champions” caps and t-shirts.

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Credit: Gang Green Nation

Nick Mangold and Dustin Keller could be racing to their cell phones to be the first Jets to tweet about the win.  Antonio Cromartie’s kids could be dogpiling him in the end zone.

Shaun Ellis would then join the team on the podium to get his fingerprints on his Lombardi Trophy and press his lips against its mirror-like surface.  He has waited long enough to get his hands on that trophy after being with the team the longest.

To me Super Bowl Sunday was just another day of football.  I did not put on my Jets jersey.  No Jets shirt or hat to be worn.  Not even my trusty Jets boxers I wore every Sunday the team played.  Two teams were playing that were not my team.

The Jets were deserving of a Super Bowl this season. Anyone who is not a Jets fan will instantly contest this, because everyone else HATES the Jets. I can’t blame them. The Jets have a bunch of big mouths and a coach who has no filter. But the fans take on the personality of the team, and I can safely say we had a lot more fun than many others did.  Even the Jet fans who are haters enjoyed themselves this season.

Gang Green fought through all the criticism this season. After a bunch of close games that should not have been close and after some bad losses, the Jets showed everyone who they really are in the playoffs.  It does not matter how you finish the season, it is how you finish in the playoffs.

They took down Peyton Manning after he made them look bad in last year’s postseason. They took down the Patriots who were already being crowned champions. They forgot to show up for the first half against the Steelers, but almost pulled off one of the greatest playoff comebacks in history.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Packers or the Steelers by saying this. Both were much more deserving of a championship after the way they have played in the playoffs. Just because the Jets were a worthy candidate does not mean other teams were any less deserving.

Credit: SportsNewscaster.com

Things get even harder knowing there might be a lockout on the horizon. Knowing that there is a possibility the Jets will not get a chance to play in the Super Bowl in 2012, nor will any other team, is a tough reality to face.

I could go on about this, but all football fans are feeling the same way about this except maybe Packers fans that have the privilege of enjoying a championship for two years if there is a strike, but I am sure even they would rather lose than not have football.

Knowing that we will all be at least a year older before the Jets get another shot at a Super Bowl run is a feeling that I have felt time and time again. I have always hated the offseason because of how long I have to wait for Week 1. I hate the offseason because of how long I have to wait for the AFC Championship. Again, no guarantees that they will make it again, but it’s tough to feel like the Jets would fall short again.

It seems as Jets fans we are always waiting.  Always waiting until next season hoping that will be the season the Jets win it all.  If there is no next season, we just have to wait longer.  Easier said than done.

Jets Still Have Items Left On Their Offseason Checklist


The Jets may have made the AFC Championship Game this past season, but their regular season record was 9-7.

If they want to take the next step they have a number of holes to fill on the team.

They started off the off-season by trading for Antonio Cromartie, filling their need of a number two corner to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Primary Needs

Defensive End

Shaun Ellis is no spring chicken and will turn 33 before next season starts and Marques Douglas, also 33, is currently an unrestricted free agent, who is drawing some interest around the league.

Mike DeVito is a nice backup, but would be stretched as a starter.  Even if they do end up bringing Douglas back, the Jets need to get younger along the defensive front.  I expect them to give Jared Odrick a long look in the first round.

Outside Linebacker

Calvin Pace is locked into one of the starting jobs, but the Jets are in need of a pass rushed to play opposite of him.  They thought they had one in Vernon Gholston, who they drafted with the 6th pick in 2008, but he has shown nothing in his two years.

The Patriots are expected to release Adalius Thomas soon and many expect the Jets to sign him.  He and Rex Ryan go back to Baltimore, where Thomas posted his best numbers.

Safety

The trade of Kerry Rhodes left a hole at safety for the Jets.  Eric Smith is a good third safety and spot starter, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him starting 16 games.

The Jets could look at free agency to fill the hole with targets being O.J. Atogwe and Brodney Pool among others.  They could also address the need via the draft.  If they drafted a safety, I would prefer they use a middle round pick because spending a first or second round pick on a safety after trading away your starter for a fourth round pick seems counterproductive.
Secondary Needs

Wide Receiver

The Jets are set at their starting wide outs with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery.   They could use a good slot receiver though.

Adding another receiver will only help the development of Mark Sanchez as the Jets start to open up the playbook more.

There are rumors of the Jets bringing back Laveranues Coles and also many mock drafts have had the Jets taking a receiver, most notably Golden Tate or Jordan Shipley, who I think would be a great fit as a slot receiver.

Cornerback

While the Jets did trade for Antonio Cromartie, you can never have too many good cornerbacks.  The Jets learned this first hand in the AFC Championship Game, when the Colts receivers repeatedly burned their backup corners.

Adding a cornerback to play in dime packages to keep Drew Coleman off the field and possibly challenge Dwight Lowery for nickel duties should be a priority for the Jets.

Running Back

While the release of Thomas Jones paves the way for Shonn Greene to take over as the feature back the Jets still could use another runningback.

Leon Washington is coming off a serious leg injury and Shonn Greene got nicked up a few times during his rookie season.

You need two backs in today’s NFL and if either Greene of Leon go down the Jets are in trouble.

Offensive Line

The Jets have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but a few of the starters are getting up there in age.

Alan Faneca and Damien Woody can’t be counted on to keep up their level of play for much longer and the Jets don’t have adequete replacements on their roster.

They drafted Matt Slauson in the sixth round last year and should look to add another lineman through the draft this year.

Quarterback

Kellen Clemens hasn’t shown much of anything in his four seasons in the league and Eric Ainge and Kevin O’Connell are both developmental projects.

Mark Sanchez could benefit from a veteran backup, who can mentor the young quarterback.