Well that escalated quickly.
During Jets practice on Wednesday a plane flying a banner that read 'Fire John Idzik' flew over practice for 15 minutes, circling the fields as the players readied for Sunday's game against the Steelers.
Metro New York has learned the banner is not affiliated with the four founders of FireJohnIdzik.com, the popular website that is pushing for the termination of Jets general manager John Idzik.
“I'm upset,” Ryan said.“The billboard thing and all that stuff out there and then this. ... Even though I recognize that the fans are in pain and everything else, we all want to win.The blame isn't on one person. I don't think it's fair.”
The reaction from the players was universally against the banner, though some said they didn't see it during practice but heard about it afterward. Fullback John Conner was among those unaware of the plane flying overhead until after practice was done.
“It's unfortunate but the fans are angry, upset. But we are too,” Conner said.“We just need to work hard, continue doing what we're doing and hopefully just get a win on Sunday.”
It has been a difficult week and a half for Idzik, who did not make a good impression Oct. 27 during a midseason press conference that began with a 19-minute monologue.
After that press conference, a group of fans started FireJohnIdzik.com, a website whose sole purpose is to see the general manager fired. The group announced Sunday they had raised $10,000 to buy a billboard to promote their stated intentions. On Tuesday, the group announced they had bought space near the stadium for one static and two digital billboards.
Jets owner Woody Johnson was in attendance during Wednesday's practice and was spending time with head coach Rex Ryan as the plane flew overhead.
Jets notes ...
» Right tackle Breno Giacomini and defensive ends Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson were all out of practice with an illness. Cornerback Darrin Walls (calf) was out for another practice after he missed Sunday's game with the same injury.
» Wide Receiver Percy Harvin (heel) got stepped on in practice and was limited, but the injury does not appear to be one that will limit him on Sunday.
» After being inactive on Sunday with a shoulder injury, quarterback Geno Smith will be ready for Sunday barring any setback. Ryan said Smith “looked fine” and that he threw 60 passes in practice as well as sticking around after for some more throwing.
“It's getting better,” Smith said. “Still day-to-day.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.