FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets don’t have to look very far for added motivation.
Now when they walk through the players’ entrance at the training facility, they’ll be greeted by the ultimate prize: The organization’s lone Lombardi Trophy.
That, they said, is the necessary fuel for their playoff push — not the low expectations of the naysayers.
“I think it’s definitely a good thing for the team to see what’s attainable at the end of the season,” third-year defensive end Leonard Williams said Saturday after the Jets’ first training camp practice. “It’s the only one the Jets have right now, so it’s a good thing for us to see.
“We want to bring another one back.”
The decision to move the team’s sole Super Bowl trophy from an alcove off the main lobby was the idea of nose tackle Steve McClendon, Williams said. After that, the pair talked to other teammates and soon enlisted the help of their head coach.
“Coming back and seeing that first thing when we walk in, it definitely was like, ‘OK, here we go,’” Williams added.
Jets coach Todd Bowles reiterated the same message he shared with his players when they arrived for camp on Friday: The doubters can always serve as “extra motivation” but “not THE motivation.”
“We’re trying to win a Super Bowl any way, no matter what,” said the coach. “When you have adversity and people say you can’t do things, as an athlete or as a competitor you love challenges. And when you come to work every day intent on getting better and proving everybody wrong.
“But that’s not why we’re trying to win. Is it extra added incentive for some people? Yes it is. But the motivation is because we didn’t play well and we’re trying to win anyway.”
So far, his players are heeding his words.
“We know we want to be great. We don’t need people telling us that we’re going to be bad to want to be great,” said Williams. “We naturally want to be good. We’re not doing this for no reason. We’re not practicing . . . to lose. We all have a good mentality right now, we’re all here to win.”
Publicly, at least, the Jets don’t seem too bothered that no one’s giving them a chance in 2017.
Quarterback Bryce Petty, who’s in a three-man race for the starting job, expressed nothing but optimism about this upcoming season and the talent on their roster.
“I’m excited where this offense is at,” he said, adding that their defense is “going to be outstanding,” too.
“We know what we’ve got. We know what we can do.”