Rex Ryan doesn't care what you think of him.
He knows he's made mistakes. And the Jets' coach has paid for them the past two seasons. But the defiant Ryan expects to have the last laugh.
"I'm a hell of a lot better football coach than I'm given credit for," Ryan said in a sit-down interview with Newsday, minutes after the team concluded its final mandatory minicamp practice Thursdayafternoon.
"I don't care," he added with a smile. "I don't need the credit. But I can tell you one thing, when it's said and done, they'll look back and say, 'Oh man, this dude can coach his butt off.' And you know what? It's true. And I'll let the people that know best talk on my behalf about the kind of coach I am.
"I don't have to brag, even though statistically, I can brag about anything I've ever done defensively."
Now, he just needs to figure out how to get his team back on track.
Ryan repeatedly has said he's going back to basics in Year 5 -- taking a hands-on approach again with the defense. But this time, Ryan said he has the benefit of experience.
"I know what works for me," he said.
Last season, he made a conscious effort to be more involved with the offense, even sitting in on meetings with former coordinator Tony Sparano. But although his presence was being felt behind closed doors, Ryan said his message may have been getting lost in translation.
"Maybe I let someone else drive the message instead of me," he said. "And I think the first year, it was clear who was driving the message. It was me.
" . . . But one thing I learn for sure every year is that I can have a presence on this entire football team even if I'm primarily on one side of the ball. We lost a little of my mentality when I was sitting in the wrong room."
In 2009, Ryan led the Jets and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to the AFC Championship Game. Against all odds, he achieved the same feat a year later.