The goal was simple: Ryan wanted to show his team they had much to play for despite a 6-8 record. Ideally, Ryan's players wouldn't process this information as proof of how doomed they really are.
This is the fragile ecosystem Rex Ryan presides over as he completes his fifth season as the Jets' coach. Barring a minor miracle, 2013 will represent New York's third consecutive dark January under Ryan. His future will soon become the main storyline surrounding the team. That's probably already the case.
"I'm a confident guy even though I know that will be questioned a gazillion times," Ryan said at a Monday news conference. "I know that I'm a good football coach. I believe in this team. I believe in this organization and I'm determined to bring a winner to this team, there is no question about it. And I know, that I believe, that I'm the right guy for it.
"Now again, I'm not the guy making that decision," he went on, referring to general manager John Idzik and owner Woody Johnson. "Otherwise it would be easy, you guys wouldn't ask me the questions any more. That's not the case, so, again, all I know is that what I can do is get this team ready to go and play to the very best of our abilities and that's exactly what I plan on doing."
On the latest "Around The League Podcast," we discussed the seemingly arbitrary nature in which teams decide the fate of their coaches. If the Jets win out and finish at .500, they will be seen as overachievers -- a great label for any coach to be associated with. Lose both games and Ryan is undoubtedly part of the problem.
The games themselves mean almost nothing from a competition standpoint. But for Ryan, it could mean everything.