Rex: We're better than you think

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There he goes again.

Perhaps trying to foster an us-against-the-world mentality, Rex Ryan didn't pass up an opportunity Thursday to tell the so-called experts they're under-estimating the Jets.

"I think we have a better football team than people are giving us credit for," he said. "I also think our organization is a lot better than people are giving us credit for. The circus thing is kind of a little old for me. I think our record (28-20) says otherwise in the three years that we've been together."

"I'm not afraid to say it: I think this is going to be an outstanding football team, the best team we've had since I've been here. How that reflects on the record, I'm not sure. This team, this organization are headed in the right direction. I don't know if that's the national perspective, but it's my perspective."

When it was suggested that Ryan wants people to take the Jets seriously, he shook his head no.

"I promise you," he said, "our opponents will take us seriously, regardless of who it is."

HILL WILL START: There wasn't much doubt about this, but rookie WR Stephen Hill will start. He will become the first rookie receiver since Wayne Chrebet in 1995 to start the season opener. You're probably wondering about Keyshawn Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick in 1996. No, he didn't start the opener.

BACKFIELD DEPTH: Ryan declined to spell out his running-back depth chart, refusing to say whether Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight is the No. 2 behind Shonn Greene. Based on preseason reps, it's quite obvious that Powell is ahead of McKnight, both as the No. 2 back and as the third-down back.

Ryan said they drafted Powell (fourth round) last year with the intention that he'd replace LaDainian Tomlinson. And so he has.