Rex maintains high opinion of self

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan lost a good chunk of his roster through a turbulent offseason, but he hasn't lost his bravado.

"I'm a hell of a lot better football coach than I'm given credit for," Ryan said Thursday in an interview with Newsday.

Ryan's remarks might be out of place, considering the Jets finished 6-10 last season, their second straight year out of the playoffs. The awful performance prompted owner Woody Johnson to clean house.

Somehow Ryan survived, but he's entering a make-or-break year, coaching a rebuilt team under new general manager John Idzik.

Only two years ago, Ryan was coming off back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game.

"I don't need the credit," he told the newspaper. "But I can tell you one thing: When it's said and done, they'll look back and say, 'Oh, man, this dude can coach his butt off.' And you know what? It's true. And I'll let the people that know best talk on my behalf about the kind of coach I am.

"I don't have to brag, even though statistically, I can brag about anything I've ever done defensively."

In four years under Ryan, the Jets have ranked no lower than eighth in total defense, including No. 1 in 2009. It has been a different story on offense. Ryan is on his third coordinator, admitting after last season that he failed in his first four years to establish an identity on offense. Nevertheless, Ryan has focused his efforts on the defense, essentially running the unit as though he's the coordinator. He has left the offense in the hands of Marty Mornhinweg.

Ryan's career record is 34-30, plus four playoff wins. He has two years remaining on his contract. If the Jets fail to make the playoffs, his job will be in serious jeopardy.