The preseason is when nearly every NFL expert make their predictions.
Most observers in print, radio and television will give an educated guess about which teams will standout this year. They will project everything from league MVP to guessing which player will fall off the map. All will take a stab at who will make the playoffs and eventually win the Super Bowl.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan seemingly does not want to be left out of the fun.
[It's game time! Play fantasy football from Yahoo! Sports]
Ryan’s last winning season was in 2010. The coach has not decided whether Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback. New York’s defense has not played well in the preseason. There is not a lot to brag about, but that is not stopping Ryan.
During an interview with New York Daily News reporter Seth Walder, Ryan said he expects his team to finish ranked among the top five defenses after the end of this season.
“We will be. Right now we’re not there,” Ryan told Walder. “Obviously we’ve got to make some improvements, especially from this past week, but I’m certainly confident that we’ll be where we always are or better.”
New York’s defense was ranked eighth last season, but Walder notes New York played teams with poor offenses to close out the year.
What gives Ryan so much confidence about his team, especially after losing nose tackle Sione Po’uha, safety LaRon Landry and defensive end Mike DeVito this offseason?
“My history,” Ryan said. “There will be a lot of new faces in there but I guess (if) you put that decal on the side of your helmets that says New York Jets you have to be special, you have to understand that there’s expectations that come along with it, and I expect our guys to play extremely well.”
Ryan previously predicted his team would win the Super Bowl in 2011, but the Jets finished 8-8. He pledged to stop making predictions after that failed attempt, but is back for more.
To be fair, Ryan was placed in a no-win situation.
If Ryan said he does not like to make predictions, critics would have blasted him for lacking confidence in his team. Even if Ryan does not believe his defense will finish in the top five, he would lose the Jets locker room by admitting that to the media. Ryan was painted into a corner, and now it is up to players such as cornerback Dee Milliner, linebacker Quinton Coples, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, nose tackle Kenrick Ellis and defensive tackle Damon Harrison to help out their coach.