Prior to the start of the 2011 NFL season, Rex Ryan--as only he knows how--predicted the New York Jets would win Super bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
A team from New York did win the Super Bowl, but that team was the Giants. Ryan did make the trip to Indy--not to celebrate a title--but instead to evaluate talent at the NFL combine.
Fans of the Green and White are in uproar over a Jets team plagued by locker room turmoil, a team lacking veteran leadership or any sense of an identity. With Gang Green’s 2011 campaign in the rear view, Ryan took the time to reflect on his role as a leader and talked about his missteps during a forgettable season.
“First off, I know what everybody is thinking,” Ryan said. “The return of the Super Bowl guarantee was here. Looking back, it was a huge mistake to make that guarantee.
“I thought it would motivate our team to talk about the team, to focus on the Super Bowl. In hindsight, I think it put undue pressure on the team. We lost focus on what we do best. It was obviously a big mistake.”
Ryan’s admittance of fault should come as no surprise for a coach who has not been shy in shouldering the blame for his team’s shortcomings. Perhaps the most shocking development came when Ryan, widely regarded as a players' coach, confessed he did not have the pulse of his team.
While Gang Green’s head man acknowledged there was a fair share of infighting over at “the Florham Park Zoo,” the degree of animosity in the locker room may have been a bit overblown in his estimation.
“I don’t think it’s maybe the way it was portrayed — that we had huge problems,” said Ryan. “We had problems with individuals, but we have the right players, and we’re going to get it fixed.”
Any way you slice it, the Jets fell far short of Ryan’s lofty expectations. With wholesale changes already underway on the coaching staff, this offseason will likely usher in a flurry of new faces from different places. Ryan is firmly ready to move on from last year’s dysfunction and find the right mix of players for 2012 and beyond.
“We all feel terrible about the results, how the season ended,” noted Ryan. “But we can’t do anything about it. We can only learn from it, and there’s going to be lessons well learned. Individually, there are things I can improve in, too.”
For Ryan, his players and fans of the Green and White, the 2011 season was certainly a hard lesson learned.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
blog comments powered by