"I think it's about as low as we had coming out of that Miami game," the coach said during his Thursday media session. "When you guys were like, 'What was the deal?' I never had an answer for you. I think that was a low point, obviously."
Ryan is referring to the season finale against the Dolphins on New Year's Day. Mark Sanchez and the Jets' offense looked lost, and Santonio Holmes argued with teammates in the huddle before being benched late by then-offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. It was an inciting incident that opened the door for days of largely anonymous back-biting and finger-pointing in the media. Ryan later made the troubling admission he "lost the pulse" of his team.
Despite that, Ryan insists it was an exaggeration to believe his team was in turmoil.
"I really think things have been blown out," he said. "I don't think it's as bad as what some people say it was. But there was certainly some issues that had to be corrected. We had a fresh start when they came back. We said, 'Hey, it's behind us.' "
Ryan is out of the guarantee business (for now), but he's sure the Jets are done serving as the poster franchise for dysfunction.
"I don't know how many wins we're going to have, but I know we'll have a close football team," Ryan said. "We're not going to beat ourselves with some of the in-fighting and the other stuff. That's a thing of the past. Again, I don't think it's as bad as people want you to think. I don't believe it."
It's not unusual for a team to clean house when things played out the way they did for the Jets last year, and that's what makes them an interesting case. Many of the core contributors have returned, including Holmes, thought by many to be the root of the team's issues. The Jets failed chemistry last year. They're taking another crack at it in 2012.