The New York Jets' postseason hopes are fading fast, but that hasn't forced Rex Ryan to ponder his coaching future with the team. In speaking with reporters this week Ryan appeared far from throwing in the towel on the 2013 campaign.
"No, I don't pull my hair out, it's still grey," joked Ryan about stressing over his job status. "No, in all seriousness, I've always said it, no chance. I don't think one day about it, I don't. I just think about the opportunity that's right in front of me. That's getting this team prepared to play a game against the Raiders and the win. That's all it's about. I don't focus on what's past really this Sunday. I recognize we're playing Carolina after that but not one thought has gone into it."
Ryan has been under the microscope following the Jets' recent three-game slide and became the media's punching bag after he elected to take his team to Dave&Buster's the night before Gang Green was walloped in 37-14 in Week 11 by the Buffalo Bills. With their proverbial backs against the wall, the Jets will likely need to win their remaining four games to have a realistic chance at a playoff berth.
Pegged as the NFL's worst team prior to the start of the regular season, New York entered the bye week at 5-4, but the team has come crashing down to earth thanks in large part to some subpar play from its offensive unit. Rookie gunslinger Geno Smith has left plenty to be desired as he's failed to throw a touchdown pass the past five weeks, but has tossed eight interceptions over that span. Despite his quarterback falling on hard times, Ryan has been encouraged by Smith's performance during practice this week.
"He was very accurate with the football, everything was decisive, the ball was coming out and he was accurate with it, hitting the open guy," said Ryan of Smith's practice session. "The whole tempo of the offense, everything, I thought it was outstanding. Protections, getting in and out of things, plays, checks and all that, it was just a great practice."
While practice makes perfect, Smith has been far from it this season with a 8-19 touchdown to interception ratio to go along with four lost fumbles and a 54.7 completion percentage. As fans continue to clamor for a change under center, Ryan isn't ready to pull the plug on his young quarterback just yet.
"Again, I don't think like that," said Ryan of Smith. I come in, let's just go to work and we'll worry about how short the leash is on Sunday and hope we don't have to use it.