INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan is portrayed as a lame-duck coach, working for a new GM that could fire him a year from now. But he refused to buy into that perception.
"I can tell you one thing: I'm going to coach my ass off and I can't wait," the Jets' coach said Thursday at the scouting combine.
Two years ago, Ryan showed up at the combine and guaranteed a Super Bowl. That didn't work out so well, obviously. This time, he wisely stayed away from predictions, but he promised this much: A team that will shock the league with its aggressiveness.
"When we talk about being aggressive, I don’t know if we really know what that looks like," he said. "I have that vision. Some may say, ‘Well, you’re aggressive on defense.’ I don’t think we’re close to being as aggressive as we’re going to be this year in all three phases of the game. And I’m looking forward to it. How many wins? Nobody can tell you that. But I know one thing, we’re going to take our shot."
Ryan used a baseball analogy.
“We’re stepping up to the plate and we’ve got a bat in our hand, and we’re not going to let any strikes go by without swinging, okay?" he said. "We’re going to take our cuts. We may take our cuts at the ball in the ground as well, but we’re definitely going to take our cuts."
IDZIK ON SANCHEZ: GM John Idzik reiterated that incumbent QB Mark Sanchez will have to compete for the starting job. He acknowledged the obvious, that Sanchez has to perform better than last season. Idzik believes the change in coordinators, from Tony Sparano to Marty Mornhinweg, will help.
"We're going to do everything to increase the competition so that he plays better," Idsik said. "We've got a new offensive coordinator, we have a new quarterback coach, we have staff changes that I think will be healthy for Mark, so that we can again get the juices flowing and turn the page into 2013, not look back to 2012, start anew and get rolling."
Said Ryan: "I think there’s clearly going to be competition at that position."
THE POWER OF AUSTIN: The Jets will meet Friday with the agent for RT Austin Howard, according to a source. Howard will be a restricted free agent. The organization is high on Howard and it must decide whether he's worth a second-round tender ($2.0 million) or a first-round tender ($2.9 million).
"The guy is a heck of a football player," he said of Sherman. "I don’t know him well enough to compare him to Darrelle Revis, but if you’re putting yourself in that company, that’s the company you want to be with, that’s for sure."
That Ryan's new boss, Idzik, came from the Seattle front office that drafted Sherman might be a reason why he stayed away from criticizing the publicity-seeking corner.
ODDS AND ENDS: Idzik provided no insight into which free agents he'd like to re-sign and whether they'd use the franchise tag.... Ryan hinted that he may use DE Quinton Coples as more of an edge player this season than he did in 2012. He said Coples, who led the team with five sacks, is "just scratching the surface." ... Second-year WR Stephen Hill "needs to be a lot better than last year," Ryan said. ... Idzik spent the last two weeks in pre-combine meetings with the college scouts. Before that, he had a week of meetings with the pro-personnel department, planning for free agency.