FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Playoffs or bust? Not necessarily for the New York Jets.
Owner Woody Johnson said Wednesday that the team’s goal is, of course, to reach the postseason each year, but declined to say that this season would be a failure without a postseason appearance.
“I’m not going to really look at it that way,” Johnson said while speaking to reporters for the first time since early in the offseason.
“We try to win every game. We try to get into the playoffs every year. That’s our goal. In fact, to go further than that. You have to do it a game at a time. I’m not going to play the whole season out in advance.”
The Jets haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2010 season, the longest postseason drought since Johnson took over the team in 2000.
When asked if he would be disappointed if the team failed to get into the postseason for the sixth straight season, Johnson wouldn’t bite.
“I’m not disappointed for the whole season yet because we haven’t played it,” he said, smiling. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to be a good team, a balanced team on all three phases.”
Despite that, Johnson refused to issue anything close to a win-now declaration, even though some Jets fans might prefer to hear something to that effect.
“I never said there wasn’t any urgency,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to win every game. We’re not going to pre-play the season and tell you what’s going to happen all season, because that’s not realistic.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall agreed that there’s no playoffs-or-bust mentality in the Jets’ locker room.
“You’ve got to take it one game at a time, and the only thing I care about is winning every single game,” Marshall said.
“When the clock hits zero, where are we going to stand? To get there, (from) what I understand about sports psychology and understanding how the mind works, you’ve got to take it one play at a time, one game at a time, and see what happens. I will say that our expectations and our goals are extremely high.”
With several key veterans, including a number of them 30 or older, including Marshall, the Jets certainly appear to be built for making a playoff run.
“Well, you’ve got an owner that’s up there, too,” said the 69-year-old Johnson. “We’ve got the veterans to help the younger guys, so that can be a very big positive. Older is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be a good thing.”
Johnson was vocal during the offseason about being in favor of resigning quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 33 and coming off a career season in which he set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes.
After a long contract stalemate, the owner “jumped for joy” when the Jets and Fitzpatrick agreed to a deal the night before training camp began.
While Todd Bowles’ defense is expected to be solid again, the overall success of the Jets — and their playoff hopes — could hinge on Fitzpatrick’s right arm.
“He knows what’s at stake,” Johnson said of Fitzpatrick. “He’s a Harvard guy. So, he knows how important this year is for him, and every year is important for us.”
After practice, Fitzpatrick was told of Johnson’s comments — and agreed with the owner.
“I mean, I’m a starting quarterback in the NFL,” Fitzpatrick said. “So I think it’s every year that you can say that, it’s an important year for you because I’ve got 52 other guys and a whole lot of coaches that are really counting on me to go out there and do the job. So, I don’t know exactly what he means by that, but that’s how I feel.
“I’ve got a lot of people counting on me to go out there and perform.”