FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rex Ryan still pictures himself raising the Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl champion.
Whether he gets another opportunity to try to deliver that title with the New York Jets remains to be seen.
While owner Woody Johnson hasn’t made his intentions public, there’s a strong chance Ryan and perhaps general manager John Idzik could be fired after the season finale against the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. That possibility has done nothing to chip away at Ryan’s confidence.
“I was given some gifts and obviously a lot less in other areas, but I can coach football and I know that,” Ryan said Tuesday. “But, it’s more based on the people that I’m around and the people that I know. I think that gives me the belief that one day, I’m going to win that thing. That’s how I feel.”
Ryan said that from the moment he was hired as the Jets’ coach in 2009, and he nearly lived up to that bold declaration right away by taking his team to consecutive AFC title games in his first two seasons.
It has been downhill since, though, as the Jets have missed the playoffs for four straight years with a 3-12 season that has some speculating that Johnson could clean house.
“I don’t look at myself as a three-win coach,” Ryan said. “I know I’m better than that, yet this is where we’re at right now.”
Ryan’s news conference was vintage Rex, with the coach reflective at times, funny and emotional at others. And, it included a touch of those brash statements that have made for good headlines throughout his six seasons with the Jets. He was voted the winner of the media good guy award, an honor usually limited to players. But an exception was made this year for Ryan, who has always provided good fodder for reporters’ notebooks.
Such as this gem, when asked if he thinks that Super Bowl victory will come for him in New York.
“Hey, I can’t look past Sunday,” Ryan said. “I think I’ll win Sunday. That’s how I think. But eventually, when it is, I just see myself winning it as a head coach. I definitely see it. If that happens, I guess we’ll find out down the road.”
Under Ryan, the Jets haven’t had a record above .500 since they were 11-5 during the 2010 season, when they fell just short of a Super Bowl appearance with a loss at Pittsburgh. Those days seem like ages ago, when Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes helped turn the Jets into the one of the best — and most-talked about — teams in the NFL.
“These last couple seasons have been pretty tough, there’s no doubt,” Ryan said. “So, I’d say this one’s probably a ‘dog-year’ season. We’ve only got three wins. At the same time, it feels like yesterday. So it’s like, man, I’m still here with my guys and I enjoy coming to work. Like, every day I’m excited about presenting a game plan and doing different things and watching players grow. So, that part of it has been great.”
The players, nearly to a man, have publicly shown their support for Ryan during the last few weeks, with some such as D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Sheldon Richardson insisting that wholesale changes aren’t necessary. Ryan says hearing that from his players “feels great,” even if they might not have any say in the final outcome.
“Just got to prepare,” Richardson said. “Prepare for the worst.”
For many of the players, that means seeing Ryan leave, along with his coaching staff. Richardson credits defensive line coach Karl Dunbar for helping him develop in the player who won Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, and was selected as the team’s MVP this season by his teammates.
“It would just be starting over again,” Richardson said. “That’s what it is, a fresh start for everybody. But who wants that? It’s a weird situation, man. These are people’s jobs and livelihoods we’re talking about. We’re talking about just removing them. It’s tough. This is a sticky situation.”
Ryan is also uncertain as to whether he’ll get the opportunity after Sunday’s game to sit with Johnson and convey his desire to stay and try to bring that coveted Super Bowl to the Jets.
“We’ll see what happens,” Ryan said. “I know it’s a broken record, but it’s really just about the job that I have right in front of me. I want to be great, I want our team to be great. I want our team to be focused and myself to be focused on the job at hand, and that’s what I plan on doing.
“Whatever happens after that will happen after that.”
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)