Every year the Jets make big promises and boast of their potential to make noise in the AFC East. This year is no exception but do they have the talent to back up their claims and make Gang Green a longshot to add to your NFL picks?
Dee Milliner – Hall of Famer in the Making?
Quiet confidence. It’s getting harder and harder to find with so many squeaky wheels looking for all that grease. I have a friend who exemplifies that sterling quality we all admire yet don’t we all remain guilty of gilding the lily just a bit – if not a lot? My high school buddy, who I remain friends with to this day, stands only 5’7” tall yet towered above the competition and was the captain of both his high school and college golf and hockey teams. Upon graduating prep school, he received scholarship opportunities far and wide but ultimately accepted a full boat to a little Ivy League school named Amherst College. Had his reputation not preceded him I doubt any of those colleges would have known of his athletic prowess, and academic excellence, if it were solely up to him. Around the bar or at a social event, the subject of hockey or golf would inevitably crop up and Kevin would never utter a word about his own accomplishments. His humility never failed to impress me and I still treasure the lessons his actions taught me all these years later though I am admittedly at times, a flawed student.
But those sanguine memories are in direct conflict with the boisterous, self-aggrandizing athletes of today and there is no team that exhibits this more often than the New York Jets. Case in point, second year cornerback Dee Milliner, taken ninth overall in the 2013 draft had a rookie campaign that was fraught with indecision and inconsistency. Milliner was benched at various times throughout last season but his vast potential manifested itself down the stretch of the Jets disappointing 2013 campaign. Buoyed by his late season surge, Milliner had this to say not only about his place in the NFL pecking order but also his place in history.
"I'm not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me," Milliner said. "Don't care if they've been in the league 10 years and I've been here five months. That's how it's going to go…”
I want to be great," he said. "That's the difference between the players that are in the Hall of Fame and not in the Hall of Fame. ... You want to do great things. That's what I want to do."
His attitude is the perfect size for a Jets uniform as we all know of head coach Rex Ryan’s perennial preseason predictions for postseason glory that invariably morph into a big ol’ piece of humble pie once the regular season ends. But even this Patriots fan, though I hardly speak for my New England brethren, can appreciate Ryan’s peculiar charm and playfully choreographed bravado. He’s been in the league, paid his dues and understands the boundaries. Apparently his second year cornerback does not. Milliner's talked the talk and his close encounters this season with receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Demaryius Thomas to name a few, will prove whether he can walk the walk.
Jets NFL Odds
Virtually all of the major offshore sportsbooks have NFL odds of 66-1 on the Jets winning the Super Bowl and 33-1 being dealt by Bet365.com on Gang Green to win the AFC. Perhaps those Jets fans who are a bit more realistic may want to hang their collective hats on the 10-1 in NFL odds that Rex’s boys will win the AFC East.
I’m not sure how the Jets will leapfrog the Dolphins and New England to wrest the AFC East crown from the heads of Belichick’s Boys but perhaps there should be a smudge more humility and less bombast in New York. But if Milliner is right and he does prove to the world he is indeed the new Darrelle Revis, then maybe he will realize his words are about as necessary as a maraschino cherry on top of a perfectly cooked filet mignon - just not necessary.