Jets Q & A: Look out for this up-and-coming team next season

Geno Smith Rex Ryan pose for photos after

Geno Smith Rex Ryan pose for photos after beating the Cleveland Browns. (Dec. 22, 2013) (Credit: Lee S. Weissman)

Are the Jets a team moving up?

According to Rex Ryan, they are. After defeating the Browns, 24-13, he stood in front of the cameras and declared his team "is on the climb. It's on the rise."

Despite the low opinion most observers had of the Jets before the season, they improved to 7-8 after overcoming a 10-0 deficit against the Browns. The ability to bounce back from adversity is proof that they are headed in the right direction, according to Willie Colon. "If you look at our resume during the year, if a team jumps on us . . . we don't fight back," the right guard said. "But the last two games, you see everybody fighting, standing tall."

Calvin Pace said the team's record shows a lot about the team's character and talent level. "I guarantee you, everybody loves playing for Rex," the linebacker said. "It's a blast to come into work every day with a guy that motivates everybody and believes in everybody."

Speaking of Pace, what did he say about his 10th sack?

For the first time since 1981 (Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau), the Jets have a 10-sack tandem: Muhammad Wilkerson and Pace, who recorded his career-high 10th Sunday. "It's a lot of them and a little bit of me," Pace, 33, said of playing on the Jets' standout defensive line. " . . . I give them a lot of credit. And Rex, for believing in an older guy . . . "

What did Ryan say about his sideline antics?

Ryan let his emotions fly, screaming at an official for what he thought should have been -- and ultimately was -- a penalty for a late out-of-bounds hit on Geno Smith. When asked if he was surprised that he didn't get hit with a penalty for his sideline stomping and cursing, he replied: "Who, me? Surprised I didn't get a penalty? I was surprised that there wasn't a penalty [called] earlier." He added: "And then, obviously, I missed the flag [on the play that came in late], so I think I was apologizing for [not seeing that]."

Were the Browns able to cover Kellen Winslow Jr.?

The former Browns tight end generated headlines this past week when he said his former team "can't guard me." Though Winslow was flagged for a holding penalty on the Jets' first play from scrimmage, turning a 27-yard reception by Bilal Powell into a net gain of nine yards, he caught three passes for 35 yards -- including a 16-yard completion during which he hurdled a defender. "It finally worked," he said, referring to his failed attempt to hurdle Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson two weeks ago.

Is Sheldon Richardson OK?

The rookie defensive tackle was taken to the locker room during the second quarter after injuring his shoulder. Richardson -- injured on a 7-yard run by Edwin Baker -- went for X-rays after the game but wouldn't let on about how much pain he was in. Richardson repeatedly told reporters he was fine and that he doesn't discuss injuries.

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