After the Jets went to back-to-back AFC Championships in coach Rex Ryan's first two years on the job, the team has slipped to 8-8 and 6-10 since. Rock bottom came in December when quarterback Mark Sanchez was benched and seventh-rounder Greg McElroy got the nod over Tim Tebow.
Tebow has since been released, and while Sanchez is still on the roster, he might have already played his last game for the team that traded up to take him in the first round of the 2009 draft. Instead, the Jets seem ready to move forward with the Geno Smith era, but in the meantime, owner Woody Johnson is asking for your patience. Excellence, after all, can't be rushed.
"Be patient, be patient, have trust that we're doing the right thing for your team, we're trying to do the right thing for your team," Johnson said at the NFL career development symposium in Philadelphia on Tuesday, according to the Newark Star-Ledger's Conor Orr. "That's why John was brought in and the other coaching changes were made; to make us more competitive." Johnson was referring to new general manager John Idzik.
One coaching change that wasn't made: Ryan. There were reports -- later confirmed by the owner -- that whomever became the new general manager wouldn't be able to fire Ryan until after the 2013 season.
But Johnson didn't want to talk about whether he had any plans to offer Ryan a midseason contract extension should these grand plans come together quickly.
"I would never talk about contracts or anything like that," the owner said. "We normally don't discuss contracts or extensions or anything like that."
So for now, Ryan maintains his tenuous grasp on this team even if it's without its best player. Cornerback Darrelle Revis was traded to the Buccaneers last month, and the Jets used the additional first-round pick to take defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in last month's draft in an effort to shore up a defense that wasn't its usual dominating self in 2012.
"You gotta have some faith that these decisions will pan out, the draft is going to work," Johnson said. "I'm very confident the draft we had was a good one. We stuck to what we believed in and the way we set things up. …
"Everybody is on the same page, we're trying to make the team better each and every day," Johnson continued. "We've made some dramatic changes, and it's going to take a little bit of time for these changes to take hold, I think they will take hold. I'm not going to predict exactly when, but they will take hold."
Hey, it's progress. Not even Ryan was willing to offer his prognosticatory powers for the upcoming season.
"We are going to be a dangerous football team," the coach said back in January. "I can promise you that. How many wins and all that, I don't know. But I'm gonna tell you: You're not gonna want to play the New York Jets."
You've all been warned.