I know it shouldn't bother me, but the way the organization is viewed from outside analysts is important to me. There I said it. I would love to be one of those fans who just don't care what anyone says about their team, but I'm not. If I see us ranked low in power rankings, even if it's on a site like Bleacher Report, it annoys me. If I see an ESPN analyst slating one of our star players, I'm going to get defensive about it.
However there is warranted criticism and there is unwarranted criticism. If it is warranted and logical, I have no problem with it, I'm always going to be higher on certain aspects of the Jets potential than others, and that's absolutely fine and perfectly acceptable. So when I saw that ESPN has us ranked at #21 in the power rankings, I had no problem with it, I think we're better than that, but it's logical to see us so low if you consider our performance last season and the question marks around our current roster.
The Jets feel disrespected and are talking as though they have a point to prove. ESPN had some comments from linebacker Calvin Pace, Head Coach Rex Ryan and receiver David Nelson on how the team are viewed from the outside:
"I think, to the so-called experts, we're always the laughingstock or we're clowns -- and that couldn't be any further from the truth,"
Oh, absolutely," he said. "I have no idea what they rank us, but I don't need to know. After you flip from page 1 to page 2 and you're still not up there, and there's like 10 teams or whatever, you're like, 'All right, yeah, we're better than what they say.'"
This is a group that is hungry, that is motivated by a lot that's being said on the outside," Football is a pride sport. Men want to be respected. ... Guys in here are eager and hungry to prove people wrong that we are who we want to be."
The Jets haven't earned anything. Going 8-8 last season and 2-2 in the pre-season doesn't really mean a thing. However the desire to be great should be enough motivation for everyone. The desire to prolong their season into December and January should be enough for them to put in the extra hours.
The players shouldn't be surprised to hear that nobody is tipping them to win the Superbowl. The Jets offense was 25th in yards per game, 29th in points per game and were dead last in passing touchdowns with just 13. There is every chance this offense will be significantly better this year than last year, and there is reason for optimism. The Jets however have to go out and earn that, they need to prove they can beat teams in the air and stop teams from beating them in the air.
If heading into late November we're still 20th of lower in the power rankings, then the team won't have much to complain about. However nobody cares about power rankings in September, not really anyway! The Jets don't have a circus mentality around them anymore, not at all. However not all teams can be rated in the top five, there will be good teams and bad teams and right now nobody knows which category the Jets will fit into.