FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The sentences came out staccato style, fast, high-pitched, clustered. As if Rex Ryan thought he was on the clock.
"We're going to be the team that you don't want to play," the New York Jets head coach said. "(And show) that we are a dangerous football team. We're going to attack you from the minute that whistle blows (and) we're going to attack you on offense, defense and special teams. That's what I have to give the fans."
Here we go again. Only in Florham Park -- 1 Jets Drive, in particular -- do actions never, ever speak louder than words.
On Tuesday, Ryan and Jets owner Woody Johnson turned a six-win season into a coronation. Ryan soon will hire his third offensive coordinator in as many years and promises, this time, to immerse himself in the offense more than ever. This after he allowed Mark Sanchez to submarine the season with interception after predictable interception and covered his eyes to the failed Tim Tebow experiment.
So there you have it. The circus, the headlines, the empty blather. Johnson likes it this way.
Do you want to be the general manager of this group?
Ryan just completed his fourth season as head coach of the New York Jets. And while he admitted Tuesday that he sweated out his job security in the waning days of the 6-10 campaign, he needn't have.
Ryan met no such fate. "No," Johnson said, "I never considered that because my confidence in him as a coach obviously gives me the confidence to keep him as a coach."
(If you need a moment to reread that sentence, we understand.)
Johnson described Ryan as "hardworking, very smart, sophisticated." So the Jets fired their general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, on Dec. 31, and their search for a successor continues. Whoever he is, he will inherit Ryan, who has two years remaining on his contract. And whoever he is, he will have to tolerate some of the delusion in which these Jets specialize.
"This is a new chance for me, and that's how I'm approaching it," Ryan said. "This is a beginning. It's certainly not an end. That's not how I'm looking at it. This is a beginning."
Make no mistake: Ryan is the man in charge here, his voice the biggest in the organization. He won the battle over Tannenbaum, who spent 15 years with the Jets. He fired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who oversaw a bumbling, stumbling operation that ranked 30th in the league. (Ryan, inexplicably, said Sparano "did a tremendous job.") He announced that quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh won't be retained when his contract expires soon. The strength coach was canned. The defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, apparently wanted to spread his wings away from Ryan's shadow -- not too far away, though, according to reports that have Pettine staying in the AFC East, moving west to direct the Buffalo Bills' defense. (Secondary coach Dennis Thurman will fill Pettine's post for the Jets.) And special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff is retiring, which was known all season. (As planned, Ben Kotwica will take over.)
Ryan also went on vacation, to the Bahamas, where he claims to have had an epiphany. The problem with the Jets' offense, he decided, is that he has not left his imprint on it.
How can that possibly be true after four years?
"That's a great question," Ryan said. "I think I just have failed in that area."
Johnson nodded and smiled at both the question and the answer. Ryan went on to say he's always wanted an "all-weather offense," not necessarily "ground and pound." He wants unpredictable. He wants attack mode.
He mentioned running the pistol. Yes, the pistol. The new offensive coordinator, whoever he is, has been warned.
Ryan exhibits little regret and no angst. His words, however hollow, convey the unbridled optimism of a rookie head coach.
"Obviously, I'm no different than 31 other guys," Ryan said, alluding to a fraternity among head coaches. "We all have an incredible opportunity."