NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jets offensive guard Willie Colon played in Pittsburgh from 2006-2012 until joining the Jets in 2013.
As it happens, the Jets are hosting the Steelers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
So far this season, the two teams’ roles have been reversed. The Jets, coming off a tremendous win over the Falcons, are 3-2 and just one game back in the AFC East. The Steelers, meanwhile — perennial contenders — are looking for their first victory.
So aside from Geno Smith’s emergence as the starting quarterback, why have the Jets been more successful in 2013 than they were in 2012?
“They care about winning and they care about being a better franchise, and not being a circus group,” Colon told reporters on Wednesday. “I think having the Tim Tebow circus out of here, and having different things that were kind of holding this team back, are starting to go out the window. I think we’re all starting to care about football and only football, which is a good sight to see.”
The Tebow experiment, as we all know, was a disaster last season. After a campaign in which he was a non-factor for the Jets — but generated plenty of unwanted press — the backup quarterback was released by the team on April 29.
Colon, meanwhile, was signed by New York on March 15 after being released by the Steelers two days earlier.
“I came here with the attitude that this team was missing a lot,” the Bronx native told reporters. “They were missing chemistry and they were missing that fight and belief in one another.”
Gang Green was 8-8 in 2011 and 6-10 last season. But even worse than the losing was the controversy that consistently surrounded the franchise. Rex Ryan’s team has been relatively quiet this season, and while it’s still very early, it has a solid chance to return to the playoffs.
“I’ve said all along that coach Ryan is a very good coach,” Colon told reporters. “People are getting to see it, that’s just it. He can coach his tail off and that’s why you see the team play the way it’s playing. He knows how to motivate guys. He just know how to tap into whatever a guy has, getting them to respond.”
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