When the Jets made all of their bold predictions about the 2010 season, the claims were predicated on having the entire roster at their disposal.
It didn't take long for that to go down the drain. Calvin Pace, Darrelle Revis and Kris Jenkins all got hurt; Santonio Holmes had to serve a four-game suspension and the Jets had to do a fair bit of scrambling through the first six weeks of the season. They scrambled well, as evidenced by their 5-1 record, but they were hardly the world-beaters they had advertised themselves to be during the run-up to the start of the year.
With the bye week behind them, though, the team is back to full strength, or as close as they'll get with Jenkins out for the year. Pace and Revis are healthy and Holmes has had a month to work his way back into the team system, which means we're going to get our first look at the full extent of the Jets against the Packers this weekend. That's a good thing as the Packers are a pretty decent squad, albeit one that has flaws that the Jets should be able to exploit.
They are vulnerable to the run and short on healthy defensive linemen, they don't run the ball particularly well and they've struggled to stop opposing tight ends in the passing game. Consider Rex Ryan's chops licked, although he's been strangely reserved this week when talking about the state of his team.
Rex has been really pushing the need to improve in all areas of the game over the last few days. That's not the strange part, since the Jets could stand to be better in most phases of the game. In particular, their defense, Ryan's pride and joy, hasn't yet reached the heights that it found by the end of last season. The strange part, obviously, is that Ryan publicly admitted that there was something about his team that wasn't perfect, but his intention might not have just been giving an honest answer.
After the Packers game, the Jets embark on a four-game stretch that's easier than anything they've experienced so far this season. Road games against the Lions and Browns and home dates with the Texans and Bengals fill the month until they travel to New England for a return date with the Patriots. None of those teams are totally pathetic, but the Jets are clearly better than all of them and that makes overconfidence one of the bigger stumbling blocks in their way until they meet up with the Pats.
That's why Ryan needs to really sell the need to improve, because simply standing pat won't put the team in position to secure the home games they'd like to play during the playoffs. The fact that it's true makes it an easier sell, but it would be the prudent course of action even if the team really didn't have any way to get better.