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Rex Ryan challenged Jets to change 'circus' reputation

For New York Jets fans looking to give thanks for their team's commanding opening act, perhaps start with the New York Post.

It was the paper's front-page cover last Tuesday -- Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow depicted as circus clowns -- that served as genuine motivation in New York's 48-28 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"It seems like that's how people look at us," Ryan said Tuesday, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. "I was like, 'You can think that all you want, but we see something totally different.' I do -- and I know this football team does. Our opponents will take us seriously, I promise you that."

Ryan's pregame speech hammered the point home: The Jets have big personalities, but they're no joke. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley told ESPN radio the depiction "was definitely a big chip on our shoulder."

Said linebacker Aaron Maybin of Ryan's speech: "It made it a bigger deal for us to go out there and prove to each other that we had each other's back."

Teams are always looking for motivation, and the Jets have found theirs. Let's see if it takes them beyond one game.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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