Rex Ryan says New York Jets can be elite on defense


Rex Ryan entered the season believing the New York Jets had a top five defense in the NFL.

Through five weeks, it sure hasn't looked that way. The Jets possess the league's 20th-ranked defense -- struggling particularly to get to the quarterback and get off the field on third down. Losing Darrelle Revis was obviously a major setback for the unit, but that doesn't explain all the issues.

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Despite the struggles, Ryan isn't ready to concede the Jets won't have a top-five defense in 2012.

"No way. Not willing to concede that at all," Ryan told reporters on Wednesday. "I think we'll get better, I really do. I think the committment on the practice field, in the classroom, gives me that kind of confidence. We've got great confidence in the players and the coaches. No, I never concede that at all."

Ryan also touched on comments made earlier Wednesday by owner Woody Johnson, who said he envisioned quarterback Tim Tebow being with the Jets for the 2 1/2 years remaining on his contract.

"When we traded for Tim, we understood his contract situation," Ryan said. "We brought him in because we think Tim's a good football player. With that being said -- and this goes for any player -- we assume that they're going to be with us throughout the length of the contract.

"But there's no guarantee there that, if there's whatever an opporutnity to help the football team, if we see fit, whatever's in the best interests of our team, then I guess no player is totally guaranteed that they'll be here. But clearly he's a guy we thought a lot of, that's why we traded for him and we still think a lot of him."

In other words, the Jets will believe in Tebow until they don't. This is logic that can be applied to every player in the league.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.