FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Rex Ryan said he hasn't thought about his future with the New York Jets, even after Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers likely doomed his team to a third straight year without a postseason berth.
But now that you mention it, yes, he thinks he is the right man to coach the Jets next year.
It is not terribly surprising that Ryan said on Monday he hadn't thought about if he will return to the Jets next season - that is the standard answer from head coaches on the hot seat. After the start of his head coaching career in New York was marked with consecutive trips to the AFC championship game in 2009 and 2010, Ryan's Jets haven't made the playoffs since and they hold a 20-26 record since the start of the 2011 season.
His time in New York could be up by season's end, although he thinks he deserves at least another year.
“I know I'm a good football coach. I believe in this team, I believe in this organization,” Ryan said. “I'm determined to bring a winner to this team, there's no question about it. I know and I believe I'm the right guy for it.”
All the blame doesn't fall at his feet but the Jets continued deficiencies at moving the ball, including the league's 29th ranked total offense, are tattooed on his resume. It doesn't help matters that the Jets defense, a supposed Ryan trademark, has been average this year despite boasting a likely Pro Bowl player in Muhammad Wilkerson and a top defensive rookie of the year candidate in Sheldon Richardson.
The Jets are No. 12 in defense this year, with a good run defense dragged down by a secondary that has given up a number of big plays. Some of that might be the loss of the top three safeties from last year and the April trade of cornerback Darrelle Revis, but the supposed defensive mastermind hasn't had a stellar unit this year.
With all that being said, it hasn't been doom and gloom for the 6-8 Jets.
Ryan was left for dead before the season even started. A new general manager in John Idzik was brought in during the offseason, and it was assumed that Ryan would be replaced and that Idzik would eventually bring in his own type of head coach. In fact, it was thought that Ryan might be fired during this season, but the Jets 5-4 mark at the bye week assured that he would at least finish this season as head coach.
The Jets were picked by many to finish near the bottom of the league, something Ryan frequently points out from the podium at his press conferences. And yet at 6-8 they were still mathematically alive for the playoffs as of Monday afternoon. The options are slim, but they are there.
It is clear that with six starters gone from last year's defense and an offense in shambles, including the season-ending injury to quarterback Mark Sanchez in preseason, that Ryan has overachieved with these Jets. Now the final decision is up to Idzik and owner Woody Johnson whether Ryan comes back for a sixth season in New York.
“Again, of course I believe it. Of course, no question. I believe it,” Ryan said. “There's no doubt about it. Again I'd rather get out of this press conference and go to work. That's how I feel about it.”
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Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo Sports. He can be followed for news and random tweetingson Twitter @KristianRDyer