There’s little argument against the idea that Rex Ryan is one of the finest defensive coaches in the NFL today. He’s been the brains behind great defenses every place he’s gone and the Super Bowl ring from his time in Baltimore is the physical proof.
Ryan led the Jets to the AFC Championship game in each of his first two seasons, but after three straight disappointing seasons, Ryan’s credentials have been questioned.
Ryan thinks his credentials are just fine.
In an interview with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Ryan made it clear that he’s one of the best in the game.
“Do I think I’m a great coach? I absolutely know I’m a great coach,” Ryan told the Daily News on Saturday. “But it’s not just about me. What makes a great coach is the people that surround you, the people that are with you every day. There’s guys that help me be a great coach. My players help me be a great coach.”
Ryan is realistic, though. He knows he’s a great coach but also knows where his place is among the greatest the NFL has ever seen.
“I'm not saying that I'm the best or whatever… or the best of all time," he said. "I just know that I'm the best that I can be. I know that I'm willing to do the work. I may have limitations. I get that. But nobody's going to convince me that they're more passionate about their job than I am… and that they're more passionate about their organization than me."
Unfortunately for Ryan, being passionate about his job isn’t a great reason for the Jets to be good next season. Luckily for him, a really good defense that appears to be getting even better is.
The Jets get another season of defensive anchors Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson while the offense hopes to get a better season from Geno Smith. Signing Eric Decker and Chris Johnson in free agency could help, too.
If all of those things go right, the Jets could be heading to the postseason for the first time in three seasons. If not, Ryan could be looking for a new job.
Regardless of the outcome, Ryan said he’s not worried.
"Not for one second do I worry about where I'm going to be next year," he said. "The opportunity that's in front of me is what I cherish. And I'm ready for it. I believe in this football team. No if, ands or buts about it."