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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ryan's wrapup: Jets' 'best is still yet to come'

From the New York Post

Before Jets players cleaned out their lockers and cleared out for the offseason, Rex Ryan met them and delivered an upbeat message, praising them for their efforts, saying he was proud, and making it a point to remind them they were the only team to return to the conference championship round among the four who did it last year.

Ryan vowed to get to the next level, encouraged by the core of top players on the Jets roster while acknowledging the team won’t be able to keep everyone.

“I think that our best is still yet to come,’’ Ryan said.

The coach said he recommended to his players to watch the Super Bowl in two weeks.

“You want to realize how close we are and watch the Super Bowl game,’’ he said, “I've taken the opposite approach. I haven't watched the last two of them because of the pain of it. But in a way, you've got to appreciate where you were and the kind of season you had and realize how close it is. Is that team really that much better than us? I don't believe that's the case.

“Let that drive you into realizing that it's not a fluke that we're the only team to go back-to-back in the final four,’’ Ryan went on. “That's not a fluke. That means we're a heck of a football team. It means we're a consistent football team. We're on the uphill climb, not the downhill.

“We won 13 games this year. The fact that we beat Indy at Indy, the fact we beat New England at New England, there are a lot of positives to take from this season and things that I would be encouraged about. Are we guaranteed we're going to go to the Super Bowl? Maybe not. Maybe when I said that, ‘Soon to be champs’ on the ESPN bus, I just don't know when that (will be), but I believe it. In my heart, I believe we'll be champs.’’

Ryan touched on many items in his season wrap-up press conference.

Among them:

* Ryan said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would “absolutely’’ return.
* Ryan offered a semi-out for Holmes regarding the sarcastic comments he made about Schottenheimer after Sunday's 24-19 loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. Holmes was upset about not being in the game on the first few offensive plays and he lashed out at Schottenheimer.

"That's not the way I like to operate, [but] it talks about the emotions that you're feeling at the time, raw emotions," Ryan said. “It’s just like when I was saying (Sunday night that) nobody has a right to write negative comments about us. That's a ridiculous statement. It was just raw. That’s the emotion of it at the time. Those are things, obviously, you wish you had back.’’

* Ryan said he’s hopeful Mark Sanchez won't need surgery on this right shoulder, though he didn’t rule it out, saying Sanchez likely would seek multiple opinions from doctors.

Sanchez said he had nothing scheduled at the moment and didn’t sound like anything other than some doctor visits were likely.

"I'm optimistic about everything, and hopefully nothing needs to be done, just a little rest and get ready to go again next year," Sanchez said.

* Ryan said he’d like to have all 53 players back next season, though he realizes that’s not realistic.
“There's going to be some guys that are going to make a lot more money than we can afford to pay, but it doesn't mean we don't appreciate them because we do,’’ he said. “There's probably going to be a guy who may retire (and) a guy that for whatever reason we move on from.

"I think this is a heck of a football team, and I would love to have this entire group back next season. I recognize that's not realistic.’’

Among the tough decisions the Jets have to make regarding their own unrestricted free agents is whether to try to re-sign both receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards, or just one of them, whether to re-sign cornerback Antonio Cromartie and other key veterans including defensive end Shaun Ellis.

Ellis’ locker was the only one that had already been cleaned out by the time reporters were permitted into the locker room.

* Ryan said he’s scheduled to meet Tuesday with all his assistant coaches to assess the roster and move forward.

“We’ll have a meeting on all of our players, having all the coaches read their reports on all of our current players and grading them,’’ he said. “It starts right now. Our offseason starts right now as far as preparing for next season.’’

Jets RG Brandon Moore said he’ll undergo hip surgery in the offseason. … Jets CB Darrelle Revis and C Nick Mangold were named to the NFL’s All-Pro team. Mangold announced he will not play in the Pro Bowl because of a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. … Jets veteran DT Trevor Pryce said Ryan has asked him back for 2011, but he’s going to take some time to see if he still has the desire.

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