Since the moment the 2021 season ended, Jets head coach Robert Saleh has stressed the importance of closing the gap inside the AFC East.
The Jets will have their first chance against Miami on Sunday.
"The quickest way to the playoffs is to win your division, right?" Saleh said Monday. "And that's the one thing you have control over, beating your division opponents."
The Jets' last divisional victory came against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 of the 2019 season and their best finish in the last five seasons was 2-4. In effort to continually remind players, Saleh has been posting the mantra "Own the East" throughout the Atlantic Health Training Facility.
"It's on our boards, 'Own the East,'" Saleh said. "So, if you are trying to become that playoff team, you've got to be great in the division, and this organization and this team haven't won in a while within the division, and as I said, if we want to take that next step as an organization, we've got to do better in our division."
See the top photos from Wednesday's indoor practice leading up to the Dolphins game.
Saleh borrowed the mantra from his time as a defensive quality control coach in Seattle (2011-13) under HC Pete Carroll who used to display "Own the West" throughout the facility.
"It is everywhere man," TE Tyler Conklin said. "A lot of times he will have it up on like the projector or on TVs in different places and just some in the weight room. Usually, it is on the TV all the time for the most part."
Center Connor McGovern added: "It's in signs out front, it's on the TV screens, it's all over the place."
Some players have taken notice and are prepared by treating it like any other game. According McGovern and Conklin, because of the familiarity built from playing a team twice a year, the intensity is upped.
"It is a heated arena," McGovern said. "There are some rivalries that build and some a little bit more competition. You kind of talk about OTAs, camp and the regular season and then divisional games are that next step up."
Conklin added: "They are people you see twice a year so you're a little more familiar. … You have to be careful. You don't want to get too high or too low for any of it. Just keep chopping wood."
To get off the snide, the Jets will have to beat a Dolphins team that is off to a fast start – 3-1, first in the AFC East and averaging 26.5 points per game. After playing four teams in the AFC North in as many games, six of the Green & White's final 13 games will come against divisional opponents.
"We're in a heck of a division with New England, Miami, and Buffalo, three freaking really good football teams," Saleh said. "And like I said, we're looking forward to the opportunity to play Miami, they got weapons all over the place, they've got a hell of a head coach and it's going to be a fun game."
T Duane Brown, who returned to practice on Wednesday, added: "Everyone knows the stakes are a little bit higher. And Miami is playing really good football right now."