CORTLAND, N.Y. -- As more NFL prognosticators put the New York Jets toward the bottom of the league this season, the conventional wisdom seems to be that this rebuilding team just won't be much good.
The predictions haven't gone unnoticed in Cortland. Coach Rex Ryan says he takes the low expectations personally.
"If you're a competitor, how does that thing not get you?" Ryan said. "How does that not motivate you? It's almost like, 'Well, OK we're gonna show you., It's human nature. You're not going to get a group of 53 [players] and how many coaches in the entire organization and saddle you with those types of things and not rally behind it, because we don't believe those are true."
Offensive lineman Willie Colon, bought in during the offseason to compete for a starting spot, is aware of the way his new team is perceived. As a product of Hofstra -- where the Jets had their training camp and offices before moving their headquarters to Florham Park, N.J. -- Colon wants to defy those expectations.
"I think half the NFL thinks we should just pack it up now, and that's all the motivation I need," Colon said. "I play with a lot of pride I play with a lot of fight. Being a hometown kid, I'm going to do my best to try to shake that up a little bit."
It's clear to see why the Jets aren't picked to win the AFC, like they were a few years ago. They have a wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, who isn't yet cutting on grass after Lisfranc surgery, plus two free-agent running backs, Chris Ivory (hamstring) and Mike Goodson (did not report), who haven't yet played team drills.
Add to that a quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith -- an interception-prone veteran and a rookie who fell out of the first round -- and you have a Jets team who isn't expected to get far.
"It's going to be proven out," Ryan said, "It's going to be proven out when the season comes rolling around. But we feel that we'll be much better than that."