Nearly three months later, Ryan is still with the Jets. He has a new offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg, but playmakers remain an endangered species in Florham Park. Even worse, his beloved defense has been stripped to the bone while star cornerback Darrelle Revis gets dangled in trade talks.
Throw in a new general manager, and Ryan sure seems to be set up for the fall. Speaking at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Ryan denied being concerned about his roster or job security.
"I'm not afraid of any situation that I've ever been put in," Ryan said, according to Jim Corbett of USA Today. "I really don't feel different this year than I do any year. I've approached this like it's a brand new beginning, which I believe it is.
"And so that's how I approached it. I'm excited about coaching this team. I realize there are going to be quite a few changes. We're going to lose quite a few football players."
Ryan has been known to side with bravado over reality at times. This is one of those cases. We believe him when he says he's not afraid. We don't buy for a second that he feels no different now than in past offseasons.
It's all enough to make you wonder if Ryan would've been better off stepping down in December. He could've done a year or two of ridiculously well-compensated TV work, then put his name back into consideration as a coach.
It's too late for that now. Ryan is the captain of a ship that's losing manpower and taking on water. Everything is different, whether he's willing to admit it or not.