Toy helicopter lightens Jets' mood

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For the second straight day, a banner-toting aircraft hovered over New York Jets practice.

This time, the Jets laughed about it.

Practicing indoors because of rain, they flew a toy helicopter -- about one foot in length -- over the field as the players went through stretching exercises. A few players, noticing the toy, looked up and smiled as they watched it buzz above the 50-yard line, about 40 feet off the ground.

Attached to the helicopter was a small banner that read, "Go Jets!"

After a couple of minutes, a member of the Jets' support staff retrieved the helicopter and took it away.

Say this for the Jets, who have lost eight straight: They have a sense of humor.

Coach Rex Ryan said it was his idea to fly the helicopter. It came one day after a real plane flew over the team's outdoor practice for 20 minutes, carrying a "Fire John Idzik" banner. Idzik, the general manager, was on the field, along with owner Woody Johnson.

Ryan wanted to lighten the mood and send a message.

"The message is, we're in this together," said Ryan, who expressed his displeasure Wednesday with the anti-Idzik sentiment. "We all recognize 1-8, but we're in it together at 1-8, and that's the way it is.

"It's not about pointing blame. We're all to blame, but we're going to fix it -- at least we're darn determined to fix it."

Idzik wasn't present to witness the helicopter ploy. He was out of town on a scouting trip.

Ryan, whose own job is in jeopardy, joked that he wanted to "buzz the tower a little bit" -- meaning fly the helicopter near the dozen or so reporters who observed practice from a second-floor perch.

On Wednesday, the organization was stunned and angered by the real fly over. Quarterback Michael Vick called it an "annoying" distraction, while guard Willie Colon said it was "disheartening."

An unidentified woman, described as a "disgruntled fan" by the owner of a local aerial advertising company, paid close to $1,000 to have it done.

Idzik wasn't made available Wednesday to comment on it, but he apparently was miffed.

"What do you think I think?" he told a New York Post reporter during a chance meeting at the airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he landed Thursday on a scouting trip. Idzik also said "we'll get this straight," referring to the season.

The second-year GM has come under fire for the Jets' 1-8 start. Some of his personnel moves have backfired and he was pilloried for his midseason news conference, during which he opened with a 19-minute monologue that painted a rosy picture of the team's outlook.