It goes against conventional wisdom, especially in the heat and humidity of late summer, but the Jets can’t wait to put on their black jerseys before practice.
The black jerseys are a new initiative this year for the Jets, given out before practice to the team that dominated the day before. They debuted for the first time on Monday, as the defense wore the black jerseys and wore them with pride.
“That’s the first thing I said when I heard we’re getting the black jersey that ‘You know it is going to be hot, that the sun is going to be out today.’ No doubt about it, I just knew it. But the jersey, what it means, what it represents, you want it no matter what,” defensive end Jay Richardson told Metro. “It motivates you, pushes you more. Besides come the fall and winter in New Jersey, then the heat and the black jersey won’t matter as much. But these are cool, real cool.”
The concept comes to New York from Miami via new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. While head coach of the Dolphins, Sparano used the black jersey as a motivational tool and now Rex Ryan is employing the technique with the Jets.
Ask the players and they like the concept, even if the black is clearly something that sticks to the body more and can be more uncomfortable in the heat of summer. At least one player said that he notices a difference in how much warmer he feels with the black jersey on as opposed to the green jersey usually worn by the defense.
Temperatures in Cortland the past two days have hovered in the mid-80’s with high humidity. The jerseys clearly are a bit more uncomfortable.
“Honestly, I can’t tell too much of a difference — some, but not a lot. It’s worth it to wear the black jersey for competition reasons. The winner who gets to wear the jersey dominated the practice the day before,” cornerback Julian Posey said. “You send that message to your teammates on the defense and you don’t want to give it up. You don’t want to be the unit in the green or the white.”
Ryan decided to wait until the first session in pads, which came on Sunday during the team’s third practice of training camp, to determine who would get the black jersey. It will rotate every day based on the best performing unit.
“I want that jersey not just tomorrow, but every day. It’s kind of like the trophy system,” tight end Josh Baker said. “We want that jersey and we want to be wearing it next practice.”
“Black jerseys have a little more swag to them, even if they’re a little hotter,” Baker said. “I’ll take that.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from Cortland.