TODAY'S PAPER
63° Good Afternoon
63° Good Afternoon
SportsFootballJets

Rex Ryan asks fans not to give up on reeling Jets

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks on from the sideline during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 2, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: Getty Images / Jamie Squire

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan knows this hasn't been easy for you, Jets fans.

But just stay the course and stick with the franchise and your commitment will be rewarded by season's end.

At least, that's Ryan's plan.

"Obviously, these are some really tough times," he said Monday, a day after the team's eighth straight loss. "Our fans, I recognize their frustrations. It's probably not easy to be a Jets fan right now.

"But one thing they can count on is our guys are going to keep working. It's a tough, tough group of guys and we're going to find a way. And I believe we will. I know we're going to work at it and I believe we're going to find a way to gain their respect and appreciation."

It's a nice sentiment, but one that holds little weight after the Jets fell to 1-8 Sunday in Kansas City with a 24-10 loss to the Chiefs. And Rex & Co. could be headed to a ninth straight loss -- which would be a franchise record for one season -- if they can't corral Ben Roethlisberger, who in his last two games has passed for 12 touchdowns, a record, and 862 yards for the Steelers (6-3).

There's a chance MetLife Stadium could be a ghost town -- or worse, inundated with the Steelers' signature black and gold colors.

"We understand that," quarterback Michael Vick said of the potential for a road-game atmosphere. "I mean, who cares? We still have to play. As professionals, we still gotta show up. Hopefully, the fans will come out and support. If not, we understand. But I think when they do, it characterizes them as true fans.

"Are you a true fan if you're only going to be a part of it when things are going good and not so good? So the true fans will come out and support, we appreciate that. But at the same time, we understand why they could be upset."

It's not hard to see why the Jets are struggling. They are last in turnover differential (minus-13) and passing yards per game (184.4) and have been outscored 235-114 since taking a 21-3 lead in Green Bay in Week 2.

"I think I speak for pretty much every guy in this locker room: We didn't expect to be in this position," Vick said. "Obviously, coming into the year, you set high expectations and we had a lot of goals -- to be one of the best teams in the league. To be in this position is very shocking, but we've got to find a way to work ourselves out of it and find some positives."

Eight consecutive losses is uncharted territory for Ryan. His postgame speeches have varied each week, but it's getting more difficult to figure out what to say.

"This one was kind of hard for him because he's never dealt with this before," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said of Ryan's message after their loss to the Chiefs. "He didn't want to lie to us, he said we're not going to sit here listening to these speeches, we've got to get it corrected. He wasn't getting choked up or anything. But you felt his pain, though."

The Jets still expect their fans to bleed green, but the organization might start hemorrhaging a different kind of green if the team doesn't get back on track and the fans start losing interest. But Ryan is confident that Jets fans will make their presence felt against the Steelers.

"Pittsburgh probably travels as well as anybody in the league. So as much as I'd like to not see any Steelers colors out there, I'm sure there's going to be some," he said. "But I think our Jets fans will outnumber them."

New York Sports