At this time of the year, the New England Patriots don’t give the media much to talk about. It’s just how they do business, and it is a proven method of success. That is in stark comparison to the loudmouth New York Jets, who just recently made themselves look like the most out-of-touch team in the league.
Over the weekend, Jets cornerback Dee Milliner claimed that he is the best cornerback in the NFL. As if that wasn’t laughable enough, Geno Smith piped up and said he’ll be a top-five quarterback in a year or two. Lastly, linebacker Calvin Pace said that the Jets have the best overall defense in the league.
Right. And I am a practicing neurosurgeon.
Whatever their reasons may be for shouting these comical assertions and predictions, the Jets fail to understand that their archrival in the AFC East trumps them in all of those categories. Circle Oct. 16 and Dec. 21 on your calendar — those are the days that the Pats will shut the delusional Jets up.
Let’s start with Milliner’s comments about being the best cornerback in the NFL. Well, if Milliner were a member of the Patriots right now, he would be struggling to make the team. Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard are all more appealing at the cornerback position than the inconsistent and overrated Milliner.
When Weeks 7 and 16 roll around, Milliner will be struggling to keep up with the likes of Aaron Dobson and Brandon LaFell. No team likes to prove the Jets wrong more than the Patriots, and Tom Brady will make short work of the overconfident sophomore.
Smith’s statement that he will be a top-five quarterback in the next year or two is equally as entertaining as Milliner’s. Smith was widely believed to be the worst starter in the league last season, and his numbers don’t say otherwise. If Michael Vick shows well in training camp, Smith might not even be the starter this season.
If the West Virginia product had been a member of the 2012 or 2014 draft classes, he probably wouldn’t have been picked until the late-second or third round. He may improve, yes, but Smith’s ceiling as an NFL quarterback is a mid-level starter. Like Milliner, Smith will regret making these ludicrous claims when Chandler Jones and Dominique Easley are pressuring him into throwing interceptions this season.
Pace’s remarks aren’t nearly as fantastical as his teammates’, but they still deserve some criticism. Yes, the Jets have an excellent front seven, but that doesn’t mean they have the league’s best defense. The secondary, consisting of the aforementioned Milliner, journeyman corner Dimitri Patterson, Antonio Allen and rookie Calvin Pryor, is not even close to elite.
Meanwhile, the Patriots have one of the league’s best safeties in Devin McCourty, and a dominant cornerback group in front of him. After drafting Easley and adding veteran Will Smith in the offseason, and with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly fully healed, the Pats’ front seven now looks pretty even with Gang Green’s unit.
It was understandable when Rex Ryan made outlandish predictions during training camp every year, as he wanted to deflect attention away from his players. But now that his players have chimed in, the Jets have truly become a circus. That’s just not how a good team goes about business in late July, and the Jets will pay dearly when they play the Patriots in the regular season.