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Rex Ryan, players understand Woody Johnson's frustration

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson look on before a game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Woody Johnson is frustrated -- and everyone in the organization knows it.

A day after the Jets' owner publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his 2-11 team, Rex Ryan and his players acknowledged that their owner's disappointment is well justified.

"That's not surprising. I assume that that's how Woody's feeling,'' Ryan said Thursday.

Speaking at the NFL meetings in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday, Johnson told the New York Daily News that this is "the hardest year I've had in terms of losses'' and "it's been extremely painful.'' He also said he's evaluating all scenarios "to right the ship, whether it's the current way, the way we are doing it now with the people we have now, or going down a different pathway.''

Many assume Ryan will be shown the door at the end of the season, his sixth as the Jets' coach. General manager John Idzik, who was spotted at the team's facility Thursday after making an appearance at the NFL meetings, might face a similar fate after only two years on the job. But with no playoffs for a fourth straight season, capped by the worst of the four years record-wise, no one could fault Johnson for making wholesale changes. Not even Ryan.

"Obviously, the man's the owner of the team,'' he said. "He has the right to do anything he wants and be justified in anything he chooses to do.''

In October, Johnson expressed confidence in the group despite its 1-3 record. But he also made it clear that the coaching staff had "fallen short.'' But the Jets wound up losing eight straight games at one point and have dropped three of their past four.

Ryan admitted he was "embarrassed'' after the Jets' Monday night loss to Miami on Dec. 1 dropped them to 2-10, and said he felt he had let Johnson and the fan base down. The Jets followed up that loss with another exasperating performance this past Sunday in Minnesota. The game ended on the Vikings' 87-yard catch-and-run touchdown in overtime.

"It's expected,'' Calvin Pace said of Johnson's frustrations. "You're not seeing the results on what you're paying for. I don't think anybody would be happy. We're not. Players aren't, coaches aren't, fans aren't. It's unfortunate. It really is.''

Receiver Eric Decker agreed. "He's invested a lot of stuff into this organization, into this team. Our job as players is performance. He can't control performance,'' said Decker, who signed a five-year, $36.25-million free-agent deal in the offseason. "For us, we've got to find a way to get more wins. It's frustrating in the locker room because we're the ones on the field every day, grinding. And it's got to be frustrating for him as well because, really, this is his organization and he wants to see success.''

Despite the mounting losses, Decker believes the Jets aren't "far off'' from being a playoff contender. "Going from a good team to an average team -- or the record we're at now -- it's very small,'' the former Bronco said. "The details are, honestly, what separate the great from the good and the great from the average.''

But even though he believes the Jets are close to being a playoff-caliber team, Decker won't be surprised by major offseason moves. "There's always changes,'' he said. "There's pieces that, obviously, we'll need to be a better football team and that's a question for the personnel department, for management.

"Obviously, we're not performing well enough to get victories . . . But I feel like the core of this team is definitely championship-minded and championship athletes.''

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