Jets coach Rex Ryan: 'I'm confident we will be a playoff team'

Rex Ryan is now more measured in his grand proclamations. (USATSI)
Rex Ryan is now more measured in his grand proclamations. (USATSI)

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In the past, Rex Ryan would just guarantee a Super Bowl win and get on with it. Now, older, wiser and less impulsive, the Jets coach chooses his words more carefully. Which is smart since his team has fallen well short of expectations for three straight seasons, and also because they share the AFC East with the Patriots.

Either way, Ryan is beyond the bold proclamations and has settled for something slightly less ridiculous.

"I believe we're better than that," a more measured Ryan said of last year's 8-8 record, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. "I believe we're a lot better than that. Eight-and-eight would be a hell of a disappointment for us. I'm just telling you that I believe this team is on the cusp of doing some special things. ... I'm confident we will be a playoff team."

So there you go. No talk of challenging Bill Belichick, or having two Super Bowl rings by now if he had coached the Chargers. Just the matter-of-fact observation that he expects the Jets to qualifty for the playoffs.

Of course, there are the obvious impediments to that reality, starting with the quarterback situation. But Ryan isn't concerned with what the critics think, primarily because they don't know what they're talking about.

“What they’re missing is -- and this isn’t their fault -- is they don’t see what I see in the building every day,” the coach said. “I think it’s a transition year, but we’re going to bring it to another level. I know where I want this team to go and that’s where I expect this team to go. So, you know, are we a better team? Dang right. ...That may be a fact that we’re rebuilding this team, but by no means does that mean that I don’t expect to improve on where we were.”

But is it enough to catch the Patriots?

“I think time’s going to tell how much better we are,” Ryan said, hedging. “I believe this football team is a hell of a lot better right now than we were at any point last year.”

The fun starts next week when training camps get underway across the league.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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