2009-10-02 / Sports

Pro Spotlight: Confidence, Swagger Leads to Jets Victories

By Elio Velez

QB Mark Sanchez hands the football off to RB Thomas Jones. Photo by Michael Delgado. QB Mark Sanchez hands the football off to RB Thomas Jones. Photo by Michael Delgado. East Rutherford, N.J.- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan believes his team should be ranked as one of the best in the league. But the Titans visit to the Meadowlands last Sunday posed a different type of test.

The Jets teams of the recent past would have a letdown going 2-0 into a game which they faced a desperate Tennessee team who didn't want to go 0-3. But if Sunday was an answer of how Ryan and the Jets are performing, then they passed with flying colors.

It wasn't a pretty performance, similar to the dreary conditions the Jets played in. But New York got enough clutch performances to stave off the Titans, 24-17, and improve their record to 3-0.

The Jets will travel to take on 3-0 New Orleans on Sunday.

There is no doubt in the first thee games that throughout the Jets roster, they believe the confident message Ryan is preaching.

The results have proven quite successful with a blitzing defense and an improving offense that have gotten them off to a hot start. But the special teams stepped up also as they forced two special teams' turnovers that led to 14 points that eventually proved costly to the Titans.

New York is getting their production from a vast array of areas, which pleases Ryan to no end.

"I'd like to say that this is exactly what I predicted, but we have played three outstanding football teams. We're 3-0 right here. Maybe that says something about us," Ryan said.

"This is an outstanding team and we know we're going to be challenged next week as well (at New Orleans), but we're going to enjoy this victory."

It's not hard to ignore the defensive boastfulness that has resulted in Ryan's arrival. Linebacker Bart Scott, who was signed from Baltimore in the offseason, doesn't mince his words when opposing players are critical of their team's defensive tactics.

"For anybody out there who thinks that this is a gimmick defense and can't play smashmouth - how dare you," Scott said. "This team is built on tough, gritty players who can play any kind of football."

Scott is not the only one doing well defensively. MLB David Harris is quickly becoming an All-Pro candidate with a sack and an interception against the Titans. CB Darrell Revis has shutdown elite WRs Randy Moss and Andre Johnson in recent weeks.

But the most surprising development for the Jets is the steady play from their first round pick Mark Sanchez. The rookie quarterback scored a 14- yard rushing touchdown that excited the Meadowlands crowd and threw for two scores. He has proven to be a calm influence in the pocket and hasn't made many mistakes in his first three games.

Ryan and many of the Jets believe Sanchez is already on his way to becoming one of the top quarterbacks. Though he is expected to at least falter sometime in the season, the former USC player looks as if he has the ability to overcome any obstacle in his path.

"It's a special honor," Sanchez says in being the first rookie QB to lead a team to 3-0. "But I'm not winning these games. We are winning these games."

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