FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Jets are on the verge of making history. But Rex Ryan wants no part of it.
His defense is on pace to set an NFL record for fewest takeaways in a 16-game season, surpassing the Houston Texans, who registered just 11 last season. Ryan's Jets (1-7) have only three takeaways, including one interception.
"I have been a part of a lot of record-setting defenses, but I never thought I would set one in futility," Ryan said. "Thank goodness the year isn't over."
"I bet we won't be there, I bet we won't break that record before the year is over. But we can't buy one . . .You just go out, you talk about it, you emphasize it, but it has to get done better than it's been getting done for sure."
NFL analysts: Keep Rex
Some Jets fans may want to get Ryan out of here, but NFL Network analysts Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci believe Jets owner Woody Johnson should retain his larger-than-life coach.
"He's been playing with a young quarterback since he's been over there, from [Mark] Sanchez to Geno [Smith] and never really had that veteran that we would all take comfort in," Mariucci said Wednesday on a conference call. "I hope Woody gives him a chance to stick around and keep building that thing up and find a quarterback."
Ryan is 43-45 overall as Jets coach and led them to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in the 2009 and '10 seasons. The Jets haven't made the playoffs since then and are on a seven-game losing streak. They are one loss away from tying the second-longest losing streak in franchise history (The Jets lost 12 in a row spanning the 1995 and '96 seasons.
Irvin, who called Ryan a "brilliant guy" and a "brilliant coach defensively," said the team's struggles are a result of the offense not progressing. "I just believe he's a victim of his own great success, which tells you just how good of a coach he really is," Irvin said.
Added Mariucci: "To me, switching coaching staffs over there might not be the thing to do because that team loves playing for Rex."
Good practices, but . . .
Ryan began Wednesday's news conference like he always does: praising his team's effort in practice.
"All right, today we had a good practice," Ryan said. "I always seem to say it, and we have had a lot of good practices. So, hopefully it will carry over into the game. Unfortunately, it hasn't been a great indicator of how we have been playing."
The Jets haven't won since they eked out a 19-14 victory against Oakland in Week 1.
"I truly believe that to play well you've got to practice well," Ryan said, though he quickly added that he wasn't 100 percent pleased with their execution. "I am glad we don't play tomorrow because we need to get better. There are things we have to dial in [on] and really get tightened up."