INDIANAPOLIS — One month after Rex Ryan‘s Jets stunned the Colts in the playoffs right here at Lucas Oil Stadium, the coach returned to the scene of the crime before a packed house to (again) declare his team next year’s Super Bowl champion and, along with general manager Mike Tannenbaum, shed light on the offseason ahead.
Here’s a look at what went down:
- A lockout — whether it happens or not — will not be a distraction for the Jets’ offseason plans, according to Ryan. “We have no excuses. None. And whatever it takes, we’re going to find a different way to get it done. Whatever’s dealt us, we’re going to handle it. And that’s just the way it is. … We’re just going to find a way to get it done.”
- Ryan said the Jets strive to be “a team that can win in bad conditions, we can win on the road, we’re going to be better at home. You know, an all-weather offense, the tough-as-nails defense, and play lights out on special teams — that’s what we’re going to do.”
- Ryan said he would continue to let the players be themselves, then was asked if the team deviated from that before the AFC Championship Game loss to the Steelers: “If that was the case, then I’ll rip ownwrship, I’ll rip head coaches, players — anything,” he said. “We will let our players be themselves. Maybe there wasn’t the same type of atmosphere that there was going into New England or Indy. … Each game is different. … We’re not going to manufacture. If we feel something in our heart, we’ll say it.”
- The Jets must improve in producing in and defending the red zone, according to Ryan. He said finishing third in the NFL in defense was “not up to our standards.” Ryan also said the team must improve on its 5-3 record at home.
- After using the franchise tag on LB David Harris, the Jets don’t plan to use the transition tag this offseason, according to Tannenbaum.
- Tannenbaum said he looks to draft players who “love football” and said anything is possible when it comes to a potential trade up or down. The Jets’ philosophy is to take the best player available, according to the GM, who said the team was excited to grab CB Kyle Wilson where they did (29th) last season. Ryan praised the work of the front office to draft and acquire players who fit the Jets’ system and tenor. “We have an incredible process that we go through,” he said. “I’m fortunate that we have an incredible scouting department and a GM that knows the blueprint that knows the blueprint for success. So I really lean on (them).”
- Ryan praised QB Mark Sanchez and said the QB is just now entering the next critical stage of his maturation process. No longer a newbie, Sanchez has the confidence of his coach, who believes the passer is blooming before our eyes. “I just think his preparation in the offseason was really outstanding, and I think that’s why you saw him take off from where he was,” Ryan said. “He never took any backward steps, he really kept going forward.”
- The re-signing of WRs Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards is a big topic for the Jets this offseason. “We want all our players back,” Rex said. “We know that’s not realistic. We know we have an outstanding football team, and we want them all back.”
— Marc Sessler