Colon says chemistry 'different' from '13

The New York Jets are only three weeks into the offseason program, but Willie Colon senses a different vibe from a year ago: Better chemistry in the locker room.

"It's a real humble environment," the veteran guard said Tuesday night at the annual United Way Gridiron Gala in Manhattan. "The locker room is way different from what I saw last year. Guys are mingling, hanging with each other, and I think we're forming something good."

Colon wasn't on the team in 2009 and 2010, when the Jets reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games, but he's heard from the holdovers (mainly D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold) that the current chemistry is similar to that of those almost-championship teams.

"A lot of guys are talking that it's starting to feel like that again, so that's a step in the right direction," Colon said.

A few thoughts on Colon's remarks: The only key offensive players gone from last season's team are Santonio Holmes, Austin Howard, Mark Sanchez and Kellen Winslow, so I'm wondering if Colon is suggesting that life in the locker room is more harmonious without them. Playing mind-reader for a second, I'd bet that Holmes and Winslow are the least missed players among that group. They were "me" guys that caused friction in the locker room.

Asked if something was lacking with last year's chemistry, Colon replied, "Honestly, when I walked in here last year, it was different. It was different than what I was used to" -- a reference to his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers. "But right now, guys are always around each other, it seems like more of a family environment."

Obviously, the Jets have added some big names, Michael Vick and Chris Johnson, former mega-stars making a transition into smaller roles. In Vick's case, it will be really small if he's Geno Smith's backup. That always creates questions, wondering how high-profile imports will impact the team's chemistry.

"He's been awesome," Colon said of Vick. "He came in extremely humble, going to work. I haven't sensed any Hollywood out of him. I think he's going to fit in great with us."

Nothing divides a locker room quicker than a quarterback controversy, but Colon downplayed that as a possibility, claiming, "I don't get the sense that everybody's being cocky or there's some spitefulness going on. Everybody's just ready to get back to work, and I think it's healthy for us, I really do."

Hey, if you can't be optimistic in the spring ...