2010-01-15 / Sports

Pro Spotlight: Confidence Grows For New York Jets

By Elio Velez

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. Photo by Errol Anderson New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. Photo by Errol Anderson It’s not quite New York Jets fever in this town just yet. But it’s getting there after the Jets’ strong 24-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round last Saturday.

Just a month ago, pundits were predicting the Jets regular season doom and who they would select in April’s NFL Draft. Now all talk has shifted on who the Jets could beat next, even if the opponent is the scalding San Diego Chargers, who as the hosts on Sunday (4:30, CBS) have won 11 game in a row.

The Jets success can be broken down into many things. But no matter how well the Jets played in stifling the Bengals offense, or rookies Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene playing a smart game, the true reason why they have played well comes mainly down to confidence.

The reason why they are brimming with confidence starts with Jets coach Rex Ryan. He’s made the team believe anything is possible and that’s including a Super Bowl appearance at Miami In February. Call it confidence, or even arrogance, Ryan is saying what he truly thinks about his team.

“When I look at it, I’m going to be true to myself, number one, and true to our organization. Unless it is really warranted, I don’t take shots at other teams specifically, I just build our guys up. If it’s trash-talking that I believe in our football team, then yes I agree with that statement. I’m the biggest trashtalker there is,” Ryan said.

“I don’t disrespect anybody else. I just have confidence in our football team. I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all to opponents. I don’t feel like I am. I appreciate this game as much as anybody in this League. I know the struggles of every team, but to me, I’m just taking my team in and I expect to win. I think that sometimes people think I’m trash-talking. I don’t really think that’s true.”

Whatever it is, it’s rubbing on the Jets and they do think they can make another upset on Sunday. It won’t be easy with a talented Chargers offense that’s ranks as one of the best in the NFL.

The matchup that will decide the Jets defense will be stopping QB Philip Rivers from getting into a groove and connecting with tall receivers Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson. They are just two of the tall options Rivers can throw to and it will take a secondary led by CB Darrelle Revis and company to slow them down.

“It’s tough to prepare. You’re not going to have that many people on your team that are that tall. We’ve got a bunch of guys that can we put out there,” said Kerry Rhodes, who is the tallest member f the secondary at 6-3.

“We can maybe even get Braylon (Edwards) to come over and help us a little bit. I actually talked to Braylon and asked him to come out and help us with the scout team. It’s (height) tough to prepare for because you don’t see it often, but you do see them on film and we know that they’ve had a great year.”

For the Jets to limit a potent Chargers offense that has averaged close to 30 points a game, Ryan may havetotakeapageortwooutofform er coach Bill Parcells.

Against talented opposing offenses, Parcells’ teams con trolled much of the clock by using the ground game to his advantage. With Thomas Jones and the emerging Greene as viable options, the Jets have a chance to do that. Sanchez must play effective and not turn the ball over, which he didn’t against the Bengals. If the Jets have followed the blueprint of success the past few weeks, Sanchez says their chances of victory will increase. “They get interceptions; they get pressure on the quarterback. They really test your patience as a quarterback,” Sanchez said about the Chargers. “Yeah, it’s going to be important to take care of the ball and (we) know that we’re in for a big challenge. The crowd is going to be going wild, it’s a big time game for them as well. We just need to show up with the right mindset and build on these last couple of weeks.”

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