If anyone can say they saw the success of the New York Jets coming, it’s Saints coach Sean Payton.
He predicted it this summer. In writing.
Payton was a fill-in for Peter King in his popular Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com, and he selected the Jets as one of the non-playoff teams from 2008 that would make a run this season. Looks like he might have known what he was talking about with the Jets standing at 3-0 heading into their battle with the Saints Sunday in the only meeting of unbeaten teams this week.
Granted, the Jets had a winning record at 9-7 last season, but they changed coaches and most figured they would be playing with a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez.
“Two things: in having competed against his defenses in the past, you can tell that he has that quality that some people have but not a lot of people have,’’ Payton said about his selection of the Rex Ryan-led Jets. “That draws his players closer to him and his personality is contagious. And besides all that, he’s extremely talented as a coach.
“Then you factor in some of the acquisitions that they made, and they drafted a quarterback that we thought a lot of, that was just one man’s opinion back in July. Here we are into the season and it’s early, but when you just watch the way his guys are playing, that’s a reflection on not only him, but the rest of his staff. They’ve done a real good job of turning things around.”
Here is what Payton wrote back in mid-July, less than two weeks before training camps got going: “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. 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.”
Indeed. Payton will get a first-hand look at the improved Jets on Sunday.
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