Jets fans constantly complain about being disrespected. 40-plus years without a Super Bowl will do that for you, and with a coach who talks up his team like no other, Jets fans want to believe. This has led to a ton of anti-Jet backlash in the media (Mike Francesa, anyone?), and a lot of angry Jets fans hoping their team can prove the team wrong.
But don't talk about what the Jets have done this year. As Rex Ryan said, the Jets haven't accomplished their goal. The playoffs are not where he wants to be: Ryan wants a Super Bowl winning squad. Now, this team needs to play perfect football to get to that level, but he wants to build a winning atmosphere.
Get the players thinking big now. Forget the losing atmosphere. He knows he has a rookie quarterback. Everyone knows that. When he matures, and once the team adds a couple more pieces, namely a big pass rusher, the Jets will be that caliber of team. Right now, they're a good team with a very good defense and a very good running game. The passing game isn't there, and with a rookie quarterback, it probably never was going to be.
Still, there's a very good chance the Jets can beat this Bengals team on Sunday. The Bengals are a team the Jets can beat. After all, the Jets scored more points and allowed less than Cincinnati this season. The Bengals aren't going to score many points against this defense, and if that's true, there's little reason the Jets can't win this game, or at least be in it until the very end.
And if they do win, we'll take it from there. What every Jets fan must be dreaming for is a win on Saturday and a Baltimore victory in New England. While it would be nice to face the Colts again and see what happens if both teams play all four quarters, the Chargers are a much more appealing matchup. They struggle stopping the run, which could mean the Jets can score some points to support their defense. Win there, and hope the Ravens can upset the Colts, a longshot, but not impossible, and the Jets play at home for the AFC Championship game.
Okay, I'm getting a bit carried away. But it's okay to dream big. That's what your coach wants you to do. Don't get too angry at a loss, but eliminate the defeatist mentality that has permeated this franchise for so long.
And don't think the team has accomplished anything yet, because 9-7 after beating two half-hearted teams the last two games is not much. It's a step in the right direction, but the Jets need a playoff victory to stamp this season a big success. That might not be enough for Ryan, whose bombastic claim that the Jets should be favorites in the "tournament" has caused waves throughout the league, but with a rookie quarterback, I think that would satisfy most sane fans' expectations.
As for on-field news, LB David Harris practiced Thursday after missing the previous two days. This hints even more at Harris playing Saturday, something that seemed to be the feeling around the team yesterday. His ankle is stiff, he says, but he'll give every effort to go on Saturday. Especially after Cedric Benson said he doesn't even know who Harris is.