New York Jets coach Rex Ryan put himself on the firing line Tuesday, saying he expects to lose his job if the season doesn't get turned around.
"You're right, if that's the case and we don't get this thing on the right track, I don't think for a minute I'll be here," Ryan said in his weekly spot on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show." "I know I won't, but I believe this team will right itself and we'll find a way."
It looks bleak.
The Jets (1-4) have a four-game losing streak, the longest of the Ryan era. They're coming off a 31-0 debacle against the San Diego Chargers, and they face the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots in a span of five days.
Ryan acknowledged he'd be fired based on the five-game performance.
"If the season ended today, you're probably dead on," he said. "There's no 'probably' about it. But the season is far from over and I think we have time to get this going."
Ryan received a contract extension after last season's 8-8 finish, but the deal is fully guaranteed only through 2015. His 2016 salary is based heavily on incentives, so there's little that would prevent owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik from firing him.
Ryan's career record is 43-42, plus a 4-2 mark in the playoffs. He hasn't made the playoffs since 2010.
Johnson said last week that Ryan and the team have "fallen short," but he expressed optimism, noting that the team was competitive in every loss. Obviously, that changed in San Diego.
The ever-optimistic Ryan, in a defiant mood, said he expects to emulate the Patriots with how well they responded after their embarrassing Week 4 loss in Kansas City.
"They got blown out and they righted the ship," Ryan said. "This will be the same way. I wouldn't be surprised if it's this week against arguably as good a team as there is in the National Football League right now."
From the outside, the Jets look dysfunctional. Quarterback controversy aside, Ryan is under fire for the way he's handling Geno Smith, who missed a team meeting last Saturday night in San Diego. Smith's expected to be fined by the team, but his playing time won't be affected, according to Ryan.
After the loss, linebacker Demario Davis raised eyebrows when he said the Jets "aren't practicing like a championship team." Ryan said he was "shocked" by the remarks.
"You'd have to ask Demario about his specific comments, but I disagree. I think this team prepares great," said Ryan, who spoke to Davis on Tuesday about the matter.
Ryan understands the crucible of New York, so he expects criticism.
"I get it," he said. "When you're 1-4, this is what happens, especially in this market. But I believe in my heart this team is going to be far from an embarrassment when the season is over."
Now the Jets have to figure out a way to beat Denver's Peyton Manning. In a moment of gallows humor, Ryan joked, "I'm not going to say we're going to poison his food or anything, but that has crossed my mind."