The Jets players are maintaining a positive approach to the final six games of the season after today's practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Partly that's because the bye weekend is ahead and everyone was making plans to return home for a few days of R&R.
But also the players we spoke to haven't thrown in the towel on the season, despite the difficult first 10 games.
"We're 3-7 but we're playing with a lot of pride now," CB Buster Skrine said. "We've got four division games left, the majority of our division games. We definitely impact our division.
"And we can definitely build off of these last six games. A lot of people say we got the players to win right now, but we are a new team, and we've learned a lot. I feel we are developing. I know we don't have the record to prove it, but I know we're getting better as a team."
Ben Ijalana, the newly installed left tackle starter, also agreed that "it's been a long 10 weeks professionally and physically" but that the Jets over the final month and a half "need to set the tone, let the rest of the division know we're still here."
"I would say we're upbeat," Ijalana said of the O-line, which has lost LT Ryan Clady for the season, got RT Breno Giacomini back off of PUP several weeks ago, and has been operating for three games without Pro Bowl C Nick Mangold. "Although it hasn't been ideal with all these injuries, we're now starting to get a couple of starts with each other, and the communication flows better when that happens.
"Also, we had a new quarterback under center for a game and a series, so the communication helps with that as well."
That new QB, Bryce Petty, may or may not return as the signalcaller for New England on Nov. 27 — head coach Todd Bowles said Monday the decision will be based on Ryan Fitzpatrick's knee, the film grade of Petty's play in the 9-6 loss to the Rams, and "evaluating where we want to go from here."
But as Petty said today, the team's practice approach will remain the same no matter what the coach's call.
"We're going to keep fighting, we're going to keep working hard, and we're hungry as ever, we all are," he said. "We're fighting for the guys in the locker room because that's all we have."
Rookie LB Jordan Jenkins had a similar rallying cry for the defense before he headed from North Jersey to his Georgia home and back in the next five days or so.
"We always feel like we're the odd bunch," Jenkins said of his fellow 'backers. "We just go out there, keep our heads up, and bring attention to us. We're just out there trying to make things happen, make an impact. And that's sort of what we're trying to get other guys to carry over with.
"You would think the way the season's gone that this locker room wouldn't have as much life as we have, but we're not letting it get to us," he said, sounding much older than his 22 years, 4 months, making him the second-youngest Jet on the defensive side of the ball. "You've got to be professional at the end of the day. You get down about it, it's going to ruin the rest of the season.
"We come in with the right mindset, ready to practice. Forget about the past, keep looking forward to the future, and get ready to practice every day."
Every day, that is, except for the rest of this bye week. As Petty set the schedule:
"I'll go back home to Texas, put the cowboy boots on, hang out with Mom and Dad for a little bit, so it'll be good. Kind of get your mind away from things, regroup and be ready to rock and roll when we get back."
Best Images from Tuesday's Practice During the Bye Week