Members of Jets Nation may have cringed at Antonio Cromartie's playoff guarantee Thursday morning, but -- "whether you like it or not" -- Rex Ryan echoed his cornerback's claim with his own form of bravado.
"This team believes we can right the ship. And we're going for it," the Jets coach told the media before practice. "I know Cro had some comments about we're going to make the playoffs and all that. And I feel, and as an entire football team, we should all feel like that. I think we do feel like that.
"Nobody wants to hear it, but who cares? That's how we feel. That's our mentality. Whether you like it or not, that's our mentality. And I would think as Jets fans and the whole Jet community, they would want us to feel that way -- and we do."
(Based on my Twitter feed, that's sort of not true LOL...)
During a morning spot on NFL Network's "NFL AM" TV show, Cromartie guaranteed: "The Jets will make the playoffs this year. We believe in each other, we believe in what coach Ryan and his staff is putting us to schemes and stuff, so we definitely are going to make the playoffs this year."
The cornerback's thinking may seem a little far-fetched to some football fans, given the Jets 3-5 overall record and 2-2 standing in the AFC East. But one thing we've learned from Ryan over the years is he won't concede defeat and he won't back down from a challenge.
"We're not happy with where we are, with that 3-5 record," he said. "We know it's tough to get into the playoffs, especially when you back yourself up with that 3-5 record. But, again, we're going to keep swinging until they tell us that we're out. All of us, in my opinion, believe we can make it."
True competitors like to measure themselves against "tough opponents and, maybe, tough circumstances." Ryan said. The coach was quick to admit "we haven't done quite well at it," but nonetheless "this is a new opportunity and we're all in."
The Jets have proven in the past that they can handle adverse circumstances and uphill climbs (See: playoff road wins in 2009 and 2010). But with a tenuous playoff picture last season, Rex Ryan's team lost three straight games and missed the postseason.
But the coach said the 2012 Jets are far different than last year's team -- and he wasn't talking about talent. "This team is much closer than I think our team was, my team was, last year," he said.
Ryan said the goal coming into this season was getting "guys totally committed to each other" again. And he believes they've succeeded in that, despite their win-loss record.
"I just feel it," he said, "I sense it."