Even in defeat, Rex talks tough

January, 1, 2012
1/01/12
8:50
PM ET
MIAMI GARDENS -- Rex Ryan was defiant to the bitter end.

Confronted with his first non-playoff season in three years on the job, the Jets' coach came out swining after Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Dolphins, promising a championship in the future.

"I'm always going to chase the Super Bowl," he said. "I know I get criticized for it beyond belief, and all that stuff, but if you don't you're probably a loser, okay. I'm not a loser. If people don't have the guts or courage to put it out there, then so be it. That's on them.

"I will always chase the Super Bowl," Ryan continued. "I believe we'll win the Super Bowl, and I'll believe it for the next 15 years. So you can get all the articles out that you want, that's fine and dandy. But for me, I'll find a way to make this team better. We will. There's no question about it."

After the game, Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum sat on a bench outside the locker room for several minutes, deep thought. You can bet they weren't discussing their off-season tee times.

The Jets, who appeared to be playoff-bound at 8-5, lost their final three games, a December collapse straight out of the 1990s.

"That's my responsibility," Ryan said. "I'll shoulder the blame. Clearly, 8-8 is not what we're trying to get to. We have to look at every aspect of our team, ask ourselves how we can get better. We'll do that. We don't want to be average. We all know what we're chasing. Clearly, we're not there yet and we have to come up with answers. That's what I've got to do."

The season was a bust because the Jets felt they had the goods to reach the Super Bowl.

"It's very frustrating," TE Dustin Keller said. "We had higher expectations than anyone in the NFL, or at least anyone that was willing to talk about it. To not even make it to the playoffs when our goal is to win the Super Bowl is just really frustrating."

Several players said they need to improve team chemistry. They need to rebuild their team unit, with Keller saying "it's going to take us meeting in the offseason even when we're not supposed to. We have to have guys that are buying into the system. Everybody has to be on the same page. Everybody has to want the same thing."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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