FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Playoffs or bust? Not necessarily for the New York Jets.
Owner Woody Johnson said Wednesday that the team’s goal is, of course, to reach the postseason each year, but declined to say that this season would be a failure without a postseason appearance.
“I’m not going to really look at it that way,” Johnson said while speaking to reporters for the first time since early in the offseason.
“We try to win every game. We try to get into the playoffs every year. That’s our goal. In fact, to go further than that. You have to do it a game at a time. I’m not going to play the whole season out in advance.”
The Jets haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2010 season, the longest postseason drought since Johnson took over the team in 2000.
When asked if he would be disappointed if the team failed to get into the postseason for the sixth straight season, Johnson wouldn’t bite.
“I’m not disappointed for the whole season yet because we haven’t played it,” he said, smiling. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to be a good team, a balanced team on all three phases.”
Despite that, Johnson refused to issue anything close to a win-now declaration, even though some Jets fans might prefer to hear something to that effect.
“I never said there wasn’t any urgency,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to win every game. We’re not going to pre-play the season and tell you what’s going to happen all season, because that’s not realistic.”
With several key veterans, including a number of them 30 or older, the Jets appear to be built for making a playoff run.
“Well, you’ve got an owner that’s up there, too,” said the 69-year-old Johnson. “We’ve got the veterans to help the younger guys, so that can be a very big positive. Older is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be a good thing.”
Johnson was vocal during the offseason about being in favor of resigning quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 33 and coming off a career season in which he set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes.
After a long contract stalemate, the owner “jumped for joy” when the Jets and Fitzpatrick agreed to a deal the night before training camp began.
While Todd Bowles’ defense is expected to be solid again, the overall success of the Jets — and their playoff hopes — could hinge on Fitzpatrick’s right arm.
“He knows what’s at stake,” Johnson said of Fitzpatrick. “He’s a Harvard guy. So, he knows how important this year is for him, and every year is important for us.”
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