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Confident Jets tone it down

Posted by Albert Breer  August 3, 2010 04:11 PM

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No postcard today, since we already gave you one on the Jets and we spent the morning here. But I figured it’d be worth delving into Gang Green’s view of itself in the context of the rest of the AFC East.

What’s funny is when the Jets are asked about their expectations, those couldn’t be higher. Yet from some reason, when the subject turns to the division, they always stop short of declaring themselves the favorite.

"You’re more focused on yourself for sure, but clearly you know what the other teams are doing,” coach Rex Ryan said. “You try to be aware of every team in the league, but you definitely are mindful of the teams in your division, that’s for sure.”

Ryan and linebacker Bart Scott were together with the Ravens, who had a fierce rivalry with the Steelers in the AFC North. And while things may not be quite ratcheted up to that point for those guys with the East teams, it seems as if – after an offseason of big headlines within the divisions – there’s plenty of vitriol to go around.

“I’m starting to get a couple people who get on my nerves,” Scott said. “But I ain’t gonna say nothing. They’ll know they’re the team I don’t like.”

Ryan gave a little bit of a hint into who that might be, when asked about the North rivalries vs. the East rivalries.

“Yeah, for some reason, that game brings on even more meaning, I think, the Dolphins,” Ryan said. “Yeah, I want beat them. I mean, you want to beat everybody, but absolutely, we were 0-2 against Miami last year. They took two from us and they’re a good football team. They’re well-coached. I like the way they play. You've got two big backs they run at you downhill.

“So we’re similar teams, you’re built on defense and being able to run the football, and both have young quarterbacks. That’s definitely a challenge.

“And then, of course New England, you’ve got Brady and Belichick. Doesn’t get much better than those two.”

Someone jumped in at that point and tried to ask another question, before Ryan quickly added, “And in Buffalo you've got a young team; the draft pick they’ve got [presumably running back C.J. Spiller] has the chance to be a superstar.”

Anyway, I can’t put my finger on why the Jets are tiptoeing around the Dolphins and Patriots now, but it’s pretty clearly they aren’t running from the high expectations. Which means you can read between the lines of where they believe they stand.

“The expectations should be high,” Scott said. “But you know what? The expectations from other people aren’t as high as they are from us. And that’s regardless of "Hard Knocks" or anyone else coming around here. They could’ve picked us fourth again, and we still would’ve been saying that we have a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

“People thought Rex was crazy when he said it last year. People thought it was crazy when he said we should be the favorites. And we damn near made him Socrates.”

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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