Players remain high on Rex Ryan

Head coach Rex Ryan of the Jets stands

Head coach Rex Ryan of the Jets stands on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills. (Dec. 30, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan never lost the Jets' locker room this season, even when it seemed he might be losing his grip on his job.

Players on both offense and defense voiced their support for Ryan after Sunday's 28-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills ended the Jets' season at 6-10.

"I couldn't see this team without coach Ryan,'' wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. "But it's not my decision. I'm not Woody Johnson. I'm not the powers that be. That's for them to make the decision. I would only hope that he stays head coach of the Jets 'cause even if I'm not here, that's what I see. I see Rex Ryan as the guy at the helm.''

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie said such decisions are above his pay grade, but when asked if he would be upset if Ryan were fired, Cromartie didn't hold back his feelings.

"Hell yeah, I'd be upset,'' he said. "I love playing for Rex. He's a great coach. He brings the fire that you need as a head coach to get these guys going. I'll run through a brick wall for him.''

Even Mark Sanchez, the quarterback benched by Ryan just two weeks ago, defended his coach.

"Coach Ryan is a fighter,'' Sanchez said. "He wants this thing bad, just like I do. We've had our taste of success here. A couple of deep playoff runs where we were really a quarter or a half away from a Super Bowl almost twice, and you've got to cherish those moments and really take advantage of those moments because you never know what can happen in those next couple of years. I know Coach is going to do everything possible to improve, and he has done that. He's fighting his butt off, and I admire that.''

LaRon Landry said playing for Ryan was a big factor in his decision to sign with the Jets this past summer. As he enters free agency again, the Pro Bowl safety said he'd like to continue playing for Ryan.

"I came here for Rex,'' Landry said. "I'm hoping the best for him. I hope he comes back and hopefully, I'll be here too.''

After playing two seasons under Ryan, Edwards spent the better part of the past two seasons playing for the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. He said coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll inquired about Ryan's coaching style.

"I feel as though they asked me questions 'cause they saw Rex had the success for two years in a row,'' Edwards said. "And I told them he's a great motivator, he's a guy who runs a very chill [environment]. It's not uptight, but at the end of the day, he gets the work out of his guys. He knows how to get the work out of them, but at the same time, treat us like men and not kids in college.''

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