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Schwartz: The Jets — And Woody Johnson — Are In The Wrong Business

Woody Johnson (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Woody Johnson (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns

Forget about the fighting that has been going on here in Cortland.

That’s something that comes with the territory in the NFL, and Rex Ryan seems to have a handle on it.

The real story with the Jets right now is the direction and the mindset of the franchise, particularly as it pertains to owner Woody Johnson. If you’re a Jets fan, you should be worried about this.

New York (or New Jersey, however you look at it) has two football teams. One of them is in the business of winning football games and championships, and one seems to have a different mission statement.

The Jets are infatuated with winning the battle for the back page and bringing attention to themselves. Everything they do is based on selling tickets, merchandise and the bottom line. Not the bottom line on the field, but how deep the owner can line his pockets and watch his team get covered by the media as if they win the championship every year.

During Tuesday’s practice, Johnson made his first appearance of training camp and spoke with reporters about a number of different topics. Much of the discussion, of course, centered around Tim Tebow and how surprised Johnson has been at the enormity of the coverage that his backup quarterback has received.

But as Johnson kept talking, he said something that really stood out to me, and I don’t think the other reporters are paying much attention to it. Johnson was speaking about what the media coverage that the Jets receive means, and how willing the Jets are in providing the access. Case in point was ESPN’s weeklong “takeover” of SUNY Cortland and their continued presence at training camp.

“We’re in a media business,” said Johnson. “We want to give our fans an insight.”

Are you kidding me?

The Jets are in a media business?

This is one of the dumbest things that an owner can say, and it’s even more reason that the Jets’ media relations department should never make him available to reporters. How can you possibly tell your fans that you’re in a media business when the team that you share your stadium with has done nothing but win and win and win and win since the last time that your team has won?

Johnson is going to get a pass from the rest of the beat reporters on this, but not from me. A championship team starts with a commitment from the top. I just don’t see that from Johnson.

TUESDAY PRACTICE RECAP
After Monday’s brawl, the Jets were at it again on Tuesday with a couple of altercations in practice. Ryan was so angry that he stopped practice and made the team run gassers. Ryan then read his team the riot act, saying that they should be protecting each other instead of fighting.

“He wants a physical team, but we need to take care of each other,” said safety Eric Smith. “We’re not being good teammates right now. We dialed it up a little bit too hard, and were kind of taking some plays further than we should.”

Give Ryan credit. After not having the pulse of the team last year, he has been in control this camp and has been able to handle some big issues. He put his foot down here and gained the players’ attention that this behavior is not acceptable.

“I think sometimes you’re trying to be physical, but being physical is one thing,” said Ryan. “Going past that is something else, and that’s what I didn’t like. And that’s why we stopped and had to remind guys that the enemy is not in green and white.”

After a week-and-a-half of training camp, the defense continues to be ahead of the offense, especially when you consider the injuries to the Jets’ wide receivers. Ryan is looking for bigger and better things out of his defense in 2012. I caught up with defensive lineman Mike DeVito after practice on Tuesday.

WFAN’s Peter Schwartz speaks with Mike DeVito 

Santonio Holmes did not practice because of the rib injury that he suffered in the Green and White scrimmage on Saturday.

“One of the guys fell on top of me,” said Holmes. “It’s probably a previous injury from some cartilage that tore.”

Holmes said that he’s getting better every day, but is not expected to play in Friday’s preseason opener against the Bengals. He spent most of Tuesday morning riding the bike. Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) worked with the jugs machine.

NO MORE HAYDEN PANETTIERE SIGHTINGS AT JETS CAMP
With the release of wide receiver Scotty McKnight on Monday, the Jets have also jettisoned a big star from their celebrity rolodex. McKnight is dating actress Hayden Panettiere, who made an appearance at SUNY Cortland earlier in camp.

The Jets also waived wide receivers DaMarcus Ganaway and Chris Forcier.

That’s all for now! Check back soon for more!

Jets fans, do you feel the same way about Woody Johnson and the overall direction of the team? Let us know in the comments section below…