There aren't many people in the NFL community who don't read Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" each week. But King is on vacation and Saints head coach Sean Payton pinch-hit for the Sports Illustrated superstar today. And Jets Nation will find it interesting that he began his column talking about the Green & White.
"One of the great things about our league is the optimism each team and its fan base share at the start of a new year. History has told us there will be four to six new playoff teams this season. Who are this year's Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens or Arizona Cardinals? If I had to choose one non-playoff team from last season that has a chance to make it into the 2009 postseason it would be the New York Jets," he wrote. "I think Rex Ryan will do a great job of creating a culture that lends itself to winning. I also love Mark Sanchez as a young quarterback prospect. We will find out soon enough."
Payton, in particular, will find out soon enough because the Jets will meet his Saints down at the Superdome in Week 4. The two clubs have met only 10 times in regular-season play with each side claiming victory five times apiece.
A skeptic might think Payton is trying to butter up the Jets before the match-up, but Payton isn't Lou Holtz — when the former was with Notre Dame, he'd build up an overmatched opponent like no other.
If I'm a fan, I like Payton's comments for a couple of reasons: (1) His praise of Ryan gives you an idea of how the Jets' new boss is respected by his peers, and (2) this guy knows quarterbacks and he loves Sanchez.
Very interesting viewpoint as training camp nears.