- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - New playmakers, fresh-faced rookies and a rejuvenated Rex Ryan.

They all have the New York Jets feeling pretty optimistic heading into training camp, with their sights set on ending a three-year playoff drought - the longest since owner Woody Johnson bought the team in 2000.

Despite having inconsistent rookie quarterback Geno Smith start every game last season and an offense that lacked big-time playmakers, the Jets finished 8-8. Three wins in their last four games helped Ryan keep his job, with Johnson not ready to clean house.

“You talk to any of the Super Bowl teams, it’s because the guys hung together and they have this camaraderie that really you need,” Johnson said during minicamp last month. “And that doesn’t happen because I say it. It happens because they feel that they want to do it.”

The heat is on, though.

Better things are expected this season, especially after general manager John Idzik addressed some of the team’s shortcomings. New York added running back Chris Johnson, wide receiver Eric Decker, quarterback Michael Vick, and a dozen draft picks - many of whom, including safety Calvin Pryor, tight end Jace Amaro and cornerback Dexter McDougle, could see significant playing time.

“I feel good about our team making a Super Bowl run,” Smith told the NFL Network a few weeks before training camp.

Bold and confident, sure. But first, the Jets need to get back into the playoffs. Otherwise, Woody Johnson’s patience might be totally worn.

Here are some story lines following the Jets into training camp in Cortland, New York:

REVIVED REX: Ryan was on the hot seat for most of his fifth season with the Jets, and his fate wasn’t known until Johnson and Idzik announced after the season finale in Miami that the coach would be back.

Ryan was rewarded with a multiyear extension that could keep him in New York through at least 2016 season. There’s no guarantee, though, that he’ll last beyond this season if the Jets don’t at least make a playoff run.

GENO AND VICK: When is a quarterback competition not an actual competition? Well, in this case.

Vick was signed to give the Jets an experienced backup option to Smith, in case the second-year QB struggles or gets injured. Vick is familiar with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s system from their days together in Philadelphia, and believes he has a lot more left. But Smith, coming off a season in which he had 12 TD passes and 21 INTs, enters training camp with the edge for the starting job.

As long as Smith progresses, he’ll be given every opportunity to be the guy. If not, Vick will be waiting.

“We’ve challenged them to push yourself, but push each other, and I think they’ve done that,” Ryan said. “And I think it’s good competition.”

Story Continues →