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Jets owner Woody Johnson says team, coaches have 'fallen short' so far

Jets owner Woody Johnson, left, talks with general

Jets owner Woody Johnson, left, talks with general manager John Idzik, center, and head coach Rex Ryan, right, during training camp. (Aug. 6, 2013) Credit: Hans Pennink

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Woody Johnson is a man with little patience.

Although the Jets owner said he is confident his 1-3 team will be much improved by season's end, Johnson made it clear Thursday that the coaching staff -- including Rex Ryan -- has not met expectations.

"I think the team and the coaches, they've fallen short. That's for sure,'' Johnson said during practice. "But they've been in every game. You can see signs of being a good team and a winning team, except for the one or two mistakes that we make in each game. If we eliminate those, I think we'll be good.''

Despite questions about Geno Smith's viability as the starting quarterback, Johnson still has faith in him.

"I have a lot of confidence in Geno,'' he said. "I think Geno can be a franchise quarterback. I really do. I see traits in him, and we all see traits in him that are extremely positive and room for a lot of optimism.''

Smith, who committed 25 turnovers as a rookie, has eight in four games, including five interceptions. But even though the team's offensive struggles have led to relentless calls for backup Michael Vick, Johnson sees no reason to switch.

"We're running a team and we're going to try to win every game,'' he said. "So we're going to deploy the resources that we see, week to week, are going to help us win and sustain the winning, not just one or two plays. We're looking at it over the whole season and forward.''

The Jets' three-game losing streak has put Ryan's job security under a microscope again, but Johnson refused to say definitively if the coach's future is tied to making the playoffs this season.

"We don't look at it that way,'' Johnson said when asked about Ryan's return in 2015. "We're looking to build a team, both on the field and through our coaches, that we feel is the best we can get. And so, we make those decisions at the end of the season when we evaluate everything. Including owners.''

Told later that Johnson hadn't given him a vote of confidence, Ryan joked: "Hey, shoot, I'm not expecting a new salary at 1-3. Believe me, I'm just glad he never said another two words that he could have said.

" . . . I know it's a win business and you better win.''

For most of the nearly 20-minute interview, Johnson defended the spending habits of general manager John Idzik, who has $21 million in salary-cap space and glaring holes at cornerback.

Johnson said he doesn't "put any constraint whatsoever'' on Idzik's ability to spend. He added that he "absolutely'' believes Idzik is fully invested in winning this season.

"We're trying to build through the draft,'' Johnson said. "And we'll do an occasional free agent, but the free-agent market is not a panacea.''

However, of the Jets' 12 draft picks in 2014, only three have played during the regular season: safety Calvin Pryor (first round, No. 18 overall), tight end Jace Amaro (second round) and wide receiver Jalen Saunders (fourth round). Saunders was released this week.

Rather than keep cornerback Antonio Cromartie or strongly court Darrelle Revis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (now a Giant), Idzik chose to give Dimitri Patterson a one-year, $3-million contract that included a $1- million signing bonus. Patterson was suspended and later released during the preseason after going AWOL for 48 hours.

"That was a player that we didn't feel would help us on this roster,'' Johnson said.

Nevertheless, Johnson praised Idzik's "deliberate'' approach, saying, "That's one of the reasons I hired him.''

New York Sports