After earning a reputation in the first two year's of head coach Rex Ryan's tenure as a team with a nasty habit of trash talking, the Jets have been quiet over the last three years. Losing has a way of doing that.
But now the Jets are staying quiet heading into the 2014 season by choice.
Since the Jets appear to be a playoff contender again, it would seem they might be returning to their loud mouth ways. Last week, first-round pick Calvin Pryor turned heads when he said in a television interview “we hate the Patriots; we hate the Giants” without so much as playing a game. For a team with a combined 22-26 record since 2011, it was a surprising flash of bravado.
“Those guys were a lot older, a lot more experienced. They were celebrities in the NFL if you will,” nose tackle Kenrick Ellis told Metro of the early Ryan teams. “So they probably liked the attention. But we are a younger group. We are big on working hard and doing the little things and the big things will come. Just do your job.
“There is a difference between being confident and obnoxious, and we're confident,” Ellis said.
Beyond Pryor, the locker room has some big personalities, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Sheldon Richardson, the 2013 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and @godforshort on Twitter, is known for his confidence.
But last year's boast that he wanted to win the top rookie defensive honors is something he admits he wouldn't readily let loose.
“I didn't say it until I was asked,” Richardson told Metro New York. “Not until [the media] brought it up.”
In 2010, Antonio Cromartie boldly declared, “I don't give a damn about Tom Brady,” while nose tackle Kris Jenkins called Brady a “crybaby.”
But now Pryor's words were the exception in a locker room remarkably devoid of controversy.
Muhammad Wilkerson prefers to talk about his two children than talk about any hatred for other teams or players.
“I've always been more of a guy who leads by example. I abide by the rules,” Wilkerson said. “I do talk with the team, but in a different way. We have other guys who are more outspoken. I let them do it. If we're in the film room and I see something, I will say something. On the field when someone asks something, I answer. It's not like I don't speak at all.”
But he speaks to make a point.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.