FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are 3-6, their owner isn't happy about it and their fans are furious. But, rest assured, Rex Ryan says his players are more harmonious than ever.
"This team, in my opinion, is not going to be pulled apart by outside people," Ryan said.
The answer, presumably: Not anytime soon.
"I think inside the walls, we are going to be (together)," Ryan said, "and that's what's going to give us an opportunity."
An opportunity ... to do what, exactly?
To nail Tim Tebow, possibly the hardest worker on the team, with gutless anonymous quotes in another New York Daily News story? To paint continuing losses as oh-so-close near misses, the scoreboard -- and eye test -- be darned? To elevate the quality of the roster despite evidence to the contrary?
To continue to gloat about the amount of time the next opponent, the St. Louis Rams in this case, will spend fretting about Tebow's very special version of the (largely absent) Wildcat?
Anyone have some Advil?
The Jets live in a delusional little world at 1 Jets Drive where logic is generally discarded and sometimes disavowed. Where words have no consequences and, for now it seems, neither does losing. (Though owner Woody Johnson did say Thursday, "I didn't sign up for a 3-6 season.")
In January, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Ryan said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would return. Ten days later, he was gone. (To the Rams, by the way.)
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In April, Tannenbaum publicly and privately delighted in suggesting that second-year guard Caleb Schlauderaff could be the next Jeremy Lin. Schlauderaff hasn't played a snap this season.
In August, Ryan compared Quinton Coples to Jason Pierre-Paul. (Please. Stop.) He endorsed Wayne Hunter as the starting right tackle before trading him to St. Louis. He barred reporters from covering certain Tebow-oriented practices in order to preserve the element of surprise. And he bragged about having the upper hand against overmatched defensive coordinators when it came to employing the dangerous Wildcat.
A week ago, Antonio Cromartie said the Jets had to beat the Seahawks in Seattle. They didn't, losing 28-7 after three closely contested quarters. Because of their bye, the Jets had extra time to rest up and prepare for the Seahawks; they couldn't muster an offensive touchdown.
Ryan's take on the offense? "I know we never scored against Seattle ... ," he began, "but I definitely see us getting better."
In the final 17 minutes, the Seahawks scored two touchdowns and possessed the ball for about 14 minutes. "But if anybody saw that game," Ryan said, "they would know our defense is getting better. I don't think there's any doubt about that."
The offense has barely functioned at times under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterback Mark Sanchez has regressed.
"I'm happy with the job (Sparano has) done, I'm not happy with the results," Ryan said. "To say I'm pinning it on Tony, there's no way."
Oh, yes, Tebow.
It was in Wednesday's Daily News that anonymous Jets said of Tebow, "He's terrible," and that "nobody" in the locker room wants him as the starting quarterback.
"Now we're depending on miracles?" a member of the organization was quoted as saying. "You can't play that way."
Let us ask this without hiding behind a veil of secrecy: Dear Mr. Anonymous, How many championships have you won?
Whether or not Ryan wants to characterize that article as "outside people" trying to take down his team, make no mistake: This was an inside job. An inside hatchet job.
For his part, Tebow handled being a victim of friendly verbal fire as he does everything, with professionalism and with grace.
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"I try to be the best person I can be," Tebow said. "I try to get better every single day, I try to be a great teammate, try to improve and, ultimately, try to make a difference in peoples' lives."
To use Tebow as a scapegoat is ridiculous, of course, and childish. He spends the vast majority of games on the sidelines, his track record of winning clearly not valued by the Jets.
Tebow and everyone else -- including any and all future free agents who, according to Ryan, cannot wait to sign on and play for him -- should know this: Members of the Jets organization do not have your back, not when times get tough and maybe not ever.
How else to explain this trend? In January, Sanchez got exactly the same treatment as Tebow did this week: a story in the Daily News with anonymous Jets trashing him.
In other words, Tebow now knows precisely what it's like to be a New York Jet. What a lucky guy.