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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Glauber: Jets, Giants different styles, same hope for success

New York Giants quarterback #10 Eli Manning throws

New York Giants quarterback #10 Eli Manning throws a pass during day three of the NFL team's three day minicamp. (June 17, 2010) Photo Credit: James A. Escher

Two teams, one city, one stadium - and one ultimate goal.

As far as the Jets and Giants are concerned, that's about all they have in common as both teams open training camp. While the Giants prepare for their nearly month-long sojourn to Albany with coach Tom Coughlin's mantra - "Talk is cheap, play the game'' - Rex Ryan's swashbuckling Jets are set to visit Cortland shouting to the world that they're ready to win the Super Bowl.

And just in case you miss any of the action with Team Rex, you'll have a chance to watch and listen on HBO's up-close-and-personal "Hard Knocks" cable television series. Ryan was only too happy to pitch the show by pronouncing the Jets the team to beat this season.

"I've never been shy about setting our goals high," Ryan said. "I don't believe you can do it any other way. You can't go in with low expectations, and then if you exceed them, everyone is patting you on the back. That's not the way I work. We're in this to win it."

Rarely has a Jets team come into training camp with expectations this high. Coming off last season's unexpected run to the AFC Championship Game, in which they lost to the Colts in Indianapolis, this team can be every bit as good this season. Maybe better.

The No. 1 defense added cornerback Antonio Cromartie, safety Brodney Pool and pass rusher Jason Taylor. Mark Sanchez enters his second year with plenty of confidence after recovering from midseason turnover problems in 2009. Shonn Greene is ready to take over as the feature back, and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes joins an already solid corps of wide receivers. And the Jets hope LaDainian Tomlinson can take over the third-down duties of Leon Washington as well as some of the load shouldered by Thomas Jones.

"I feel very good about this football team," Ryan said.

All things considered, this is a good team with a legitimate shot at making a meaningful playoff run. Maybe all the way to Dallas in February for Super Bowl XLV. "That's what we're shooting for," Ryan said.

The Giants are shooting for the same; they're just not talking about it very much. Coughlin prefers the low-key approach, as do his players. In fact, the coach would just as soon appear on "Hard Knocks" as do the Macarena on the sideline. It's not his style, especially coming off an 8-8 season that featured one of the biggest defensive collapses in the team's history.

"There's a great sense of purpose here,'' Coughlin said. "I sense it from the players and the coaches. No one is happy about what happened last year."

And maybe it's better this way for the Giants, who had high expectations entering last season. Without fanfare, they come in with a team capable of contending for the NFC East title, if not more. Eli Manning comes off his first 4,000-yard season with a group of maturing receivers that includes Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham. The offensive line remains intact. Brandon Jacobs is healthy after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

The defense should be better under new coordinator Perry Fewell, who replaces the ineffective Bill Sheridan. A defensive line that already includes Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka has added first-round end Jason Pierre-Paul and second-round tackle Linval Joseph.

Veteran linebacker Keith Bulluck figures to replace Antonio Pierce. The secondary now features Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant and Kenny Phillips, who is cautiously optimistic about a return from knee surgery.

"We have good character guys who do things right,'' Manning said.

It starts today for two teams with the same goal but wildly different approaches of getting there. Either way, it's going to make for one compelling season in New York.


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