FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Woody Johnson wants more from his New York Jets.
Last season, his team won three of its last four games to finish 8-8 and celebrated in the locker room after Johnson and general manager John Idzik announced that Rex Ryan was staying as coach. They’ve got their sights set higher now.
“Eight-and-8 was good, but I wasn’t satisfied, that’s for sure,” Johnson said during minicamp practice Wednesday. “We’re not satisfied unless we go further than that. But our expectation is we’ll work very, very hard and diligently.”
The owner wouldn’t reveal any specific goals he has set for his team, but insisted this year’s Jets are “absolutely” better than the group that walked off the field in Miami after the season finale in December.
“But that’s not unique,” he said. “I’ve felt that every year.”
Johnson added that his optimism is fueled by the fact quarterback Geno Smith is in his second season, the offense is more familiar and comfortable after a year in coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s system and the team also made improvements on defense and special teams.
Johnson also avoided saying the Jets should be a playoff team this season, although they haven’t been to the postseason in three years – the longest drought since he became owner in 2000.
“The way I go into the season and the way I’ve always gone into it is I go into the first game and I think I’m going to win that game,” he said. “I think the team’s going to win the game. We kind of really do go game-by-game so we don’t look all the way down because it’s too much between now and then.”
Johnson said he’s “just like a fan” and gets “a little agitated” at times.
“I have to represent the team,” Johnson said. “In my own mind, not every owner would do this, I have to have a little bit of a longer-term view. If we lose a game I have to thank each and every player that comes off the field. Sometimes that’s hard. It’s hard for them. It’s hard for me. But I have to, because they gave what they had that day. And if I’m convinced of that, then I do thank them.”
The Jets’ biggest free-agent signings this offseason were Eric Decker, Chris Johnson and Michael Vick, but some fans wondered why the team didn’t make more moves since it still has about $21 million left in salary-cap space. Johnson insisted he didn’t put any kind of spending limit on Idzik.
“It’s really trying to find the best value and the best fit for the team and not just wantonly spending in free agency and doing that,” Johnson said. “Our culture is one of building ourselves. We’d rather take a player from the draft, mold him into what our culture is and have him be a Jet for us. That’s our ideal. Obviously, we got Eric Decker, we got some very good free agents, but we’re not just looking to spend money.”
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