Monday, April 16, 2012
Rex Ryan, Jets relish fresh start
By James Walker
With the stench of last year's late-season implosion still fresh, the New York Jets got together as a team for the first time in 2012 for the start of the offseason workout program.
The workouts Monday were voluntary and not open to the media. But three members of the Jets were available for a conference call. The key theme was last year, and this is the start of something new.
"We made some mistakes in 2011, but we are focused on 2012," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said of the team's fresh start. "We are excited. ... When you don't meet expectations it kills you."
Ryan went on to address the chemistry issues and eventual implosion that took place during the final month of last season. The Jets were 8-5 and on the cusp of another playoff bid before losing three straight games.
At the center of the internal issues were Jets No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes and quarterback Mark Sanchez. The pair were not on the same page on or off the field, and things blew up in the season finale. The pair have since talked things over and recently worked out together in Florida to make amends.
Holmes also praised Sanchez on Monday for coming out to Florida and helping get key members of the offense together.
"[Sanchez] is portraying those leadership qualities," Holmes said on the conference call. "We are both looking forward to bigger and better days."
Holmes, in his first public comments since the end of last season, didn't care to address all that went wrong down the stretch.
"That was too long ago," Holmes said, while also repeating the team-wide sentiment that last season was last season.
With a talented and veteran team, it's hard to know which way the arrow is pointing for the Jets. Was last season simply a one-year misstep or the beginning of a downward spiral? The Jets are not far removed from back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. But last year New York looked like an aging team that lost its edge.
Jets Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold says the "future is bright" for New York. The Jets will have a lot of detractors this season that think otherwise, especially if this group cannot stay together in the locker room. The important team-building process for New York starts now.