The headlines read “Milliner Says He Is The Best Corner In The League” and “Geno Smith Predicts He’ll Be A Top-5 Quarterback”. The two things about the headlines are that the quote’s context wasn’t revealed and the players aren’t bragging, they are just sick and tired of being the butt of jokes in the mainstream press.
The Geno Smith headline is incomplete because Smith said he expects to be top-5 “in a season or two”. Here is some more excerpts from Rich Cimini’s Sunday blog entry:
Guys improve all the time,” said Smith, who compiled a league-low passer rating of 66.5. “I’ve been watching football all my life. I’ve seen Peyton Manning grow up in this league. I’ve seen Tom Brady grow up in this league. I’ve seen Drew Brees.
“The main thing with all those guys, they’re hard workers and diligent. Those are the things I try to do, too.”
So, in essence, he was asked about the ESPN anonymous survey among “coaches” and “personnel people who ranked him dead last among starting quarterbacks and he believes in himself and thinks he can grow into a great quarterback. Isn’t that what we as Jets fans want to hear? I know I don’t want to hear a canned answer of “I’m going to do my best” or some other generic answer. I like to know how he really feels not what PR tells him to say.
The entire Dee Milliner article by writer/troll Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News on Sunday was derived from Mehta asking him who Milliner thought was the best corner in the league was. Milliner answered himself but added that it was because “I ain’t going to say that no one is better than me”. This is how every player feels and needs to feel on Sundays. This wasn’t him bragging, it was the self-confidence he needs to feel in order to have the mindset to do his job but also to continue to improve. This is a more accurate quote, from the same article, that better explains his position:
The thought of wearing a gold jacket in Canton one day drives him.
“Yeah, that motivates me,” Milliner said. “When you’re through with your career, you want to be in the Hall of Fame. But as you go, you got to progress. This is only Year 2. So you can’t (think), ‘Oh, I got to be (like that) right now.’ You have to build each year and try to be great each time you get on the field.”
Milliner and Smith, as well as most of the other Jets, have spoken their mind more this year because they believe in themselves a bit more and they are tired of hearing the same old things from the same old reporters. I don’t blame them.