NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rex Ryan’s job could be in jeopardy if the Jets fail to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
But he doesn’t think that’ll be an issue. Neither do his players, who are becoming more like their boisterous head coach with each passing day.
“For the first time in my career, I can say it with conviction and say it with belief: this is a playoff team,” Jets wide receiver David Nelson told the New York Daily News during an appearance for his charity on Monday.
Also on Monday, linebacker DeMario Davis told WFAN radio that “this team is more than a playoff team, honestly.”
“Three years without getting into the playoffs is unacceptable and so we know that we need to get in there this year,” Davis said. “Failure is not an option. Not getting into the playoffs is not an option for us.”
The Jets are looking to build on a surprising 8-8 season, and fans hope general manager John Idzik has landed the pieces to make a run. Wide receiver Eric Decker is on board as a legitimate target for second-year quarterback Geno Smith. Michael Vick is at the ready in case Smith falters. And Chris Johnson could bring new life to the running game if he still has something left in the tank.
That’s just on the offensive side of the ball. Rookie safety Calvin Pryor brings a real fear-factor to the defense, whose stout defensive line should remain one of the best in the game.
“The way we finished the season last year showed us that we had potential,” Nelson told the Daily News. “The teams that we beat showed us we were capable.”
Capable of making the Super Bowl?
“That’s the beautiful thing about the playoffs: Anything can happen,” he said. “So I’ll answer that again in (November) when we hopefully clinch a playoff spot.”
Smith wasn’t ready to go there, either. He told the paper that while loves the confidence of his teammates, he’s “not going to go out on a limb and make those bold statements.”
But his coach will, and more and more of his players are following suit.
Over the past week, Ryan proclaimed himself a “great coach,” said he’s confident the Jets are a playoff team and warned the rival New England Patriots to watch out for Gang Green.
It seems to be rubbing off — just a little bit — on the even-keeled quarterback.
“I definitely believe in my heart that we can do some great things,” Smith told the Daily News.
Players are due to report at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday. The first practice of training camp is scheduled for Thursday morning.
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