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Associated Press, USA Today:
Jets just laying around campfire bonding as a team "We got a lot closer this camp," the veteran right guard said. "The knock on us is maybe we haven't been as close in the past as a team."

The Jets wrapped up three weeks of full practices at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday. They've got a walkthrough scheduled for Thursday and a preseason game at Cincinnati on Saturday night before heading home to their facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.

"I think this year, guys kind of stepped outside themselves and got to know other guys," Colon said, "and I think that's just the makeup of what Cortland brought."

For offensive tackle Willie Colon, there is a whole different atmosphere in training camp this year. Having spent the first seven years of his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was a shock to see how teammates on the Jets interacted last year. There was no closeness, no camaraderie and plenty of negativity.

"In Pittsburgh, we were a very, very, very close team," Colon said. "We prided ourselves in being a family first. Players were accountable, and covered for each other. Winning will do that. The more you win, the closer you get.

After many years of holding training camp at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, the Jets moved their training facilities 3 ½ hours away to SUNY Cortland. No longer were families at camp watching the players because of the long drive. It has taken a few years to get acclimated to the new surroundings. They may not want to get too comfortable. There is a possibility of another move next year to SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island or back to central New York.

Running backs have been seen with defensive backs. Offensive linemen have spoken to those on the other side of the ball. Getting along with others is progress.

For a team that led the NFL in false starts, encroachment and delay of games penalties in 2013, accountability is a good thing. Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills was the low point with 20 penalties, 9 of which were false starts. Week 7 against New England was bad as well with 7 motion penalties.

108 penalties for the season ranked the Jets third behind the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Those teams used penalties to their advantage in reaching the Super Bowl. Seattle led the way with 152 penalties for 1415 yards. The 2012 Baltimore Ravens led the NFL in penalties on their way to a Super Bowl title.

"It's us against the world. It's us against every team that steps into the stadium with us," said Colon. "We have to be as close as possible to get through some of the wars that are ahead of us. If we're not, that adds to the losing edge. Rex Ryan has been telling us, 'we’re all we’ve got.'"

It all starts in training camp.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 8/15/2014 11:26:00 AM Edit
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