One of the grand traditions of football is to talk about all opponents like they’re Joe Montana, and all coaches like they’re Vince Lombardi. Even when it’s not true, you don’t risk the wrath of the football gods with overconfidence.
And when you’re the Jets, you have to make doubly sure you take that obligation seriously.
Via Steve Serby of the New York Post, the Jets are in the counterintuitive position this week of having to talk up Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman — the guy with three touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 32.5 passer rating in a league in which one incomplete pass gets you a 39.6.
“He’s a player in the NFL, same as me, same as all the guys in this locker room, and at one time or another to be honest, most of us, myself personally, I’ve been counted out as well,” linebacker Brandon Copeland said. “I know that there were some people who would never expect that I would line up and be starting on an NFL roster. I don’t take any person for granted, right? Because I know that right now he’s working to kick our tails.”
Copeland’s point about pedigree is valid. A former undrafted rookie from Penn, he went to camp with the Ravens in 2013, spent part of that season on the Titans practice squad, ended up in the Arena League and made it back to the NFL via the veteran combine process.
“I’ve been fired, and cut for a whole season, and I’ve sat home and I wasn’t even the worst person in the NFL ’cause I wasn’t even in the NFL,” he said. “I know that that person is working his tail off to make us look stupid, because I’ve been that guy and I’m working my tail off to make them look stupid as well. I just don’t take him lightly at all. And if he can come out there and embarrass us, I know that he will in a heartbeat, right?
“Quite frankly, we don’t have the right to take anybody lightly.”
That’s the most valid point of all.