FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan's track record has taken a nose-dive in recent years, culminating in three straight seasons without a winning record or a playoff appearance. And it bugs him to no end.
"Obviously, we've had a lot of good moments and we've had some down moments," said the Jets coach, who began his five-year tenure with back-to-back AFC title game appearances starting in 2009.
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"I don't like the fact that we haven't been to the playoffs in three straight years. That's a huge thorn in my side, and everybody else's."
Despite outsiders' low expectations at the start of the season, Ryan and his players always believed they were a playoff-caliber team. But after fizzling down the stretch, the Jets (7-8) had no choice but to set a much lower goal for themselves: finishing .500.
"The goal of the organization is to win championships -- and multiple championships -- and we haven't done that," Ryan said. "I haven't been successful at doing that yet. I understand that. We've had some moments and been close, but we haven't gotten there. The biggest disappointment is that we haven't gone to the playoffs in three straight years."
Ryan spent a good portion of his Tuesday press conference highlighting ways in which his current team has shown improvement this season. But the Jets coach couldn't overlook the fact that his 41-38 head-coaching record isn't what he had hoped it would be.
When asked how he defines a successful season, Ryan said: "Wins and losses is obviously the thing that matters the most. I'm not saying it doesn't because it does. I understand that's how we all get evaluated. I get that, no question about it.
"But I think there are steps to it that I think we're attaining. We haven't gotten the wins just yet, but we understand we have one game and we'll see what happens in this game."
Mo wins Jets MVP
Muhammad Wilkerson was awarded the Curtis Martin Most Valuable Player award Tuesday by his teammates. The third-year defensive end leads the Jets with 10 1/2 sacks. "It's great," Wilkerson said. "That's an accomplishment that I feel that I think I worked hard for, but I want to celebrate this award with my teammates. I wouldn't have it if it wasn't for them."
Ryan, who began touting Wilkerson as a potential Pro Bowler last season, credited the defensive lineman for his commitment and work ethic.
"To make that kind of improvement, to get to that kind of level, it starts with the individual," the coach said. ". . . But he's had help along the way. I think we've got a great defensive line coach in Karl Dunbar [who] I think has done an outstanding job with him. I think Mo will tell you he'll get pushed by his teammates. I think they challenge each other over there. It's a great group. It's a young group. They'll push each other to try to be the best."
Linebacker Demario Davis won the Dennis Byrd Award for most inspirational player; cornerback Isaiah Trufant received the Ed Block Courage Award; cornerback Kyle Wilson won the Marty Lyons Award for community service; kicker Nick Folk won the Kyle Clifton "Good Guy" Award; and fullback Tommy Bohanon received the Bill Hampton Award, which is voted on by the team's equipment staff and given to the rookie who acts most like a professional in the locker room.
Veteran right guard Willie Colon received the media Good Guy award. Former Jets safety Yeremiah Bell was the recipient last season.