A stunner: Woody pleads for patience

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
3:35
PM ET
Woody Johnson dropped the 'P' word on a group of reporters Tuesday at an NFL symposium in Philadelphia.

Playoffs? Yeah, right. Not even the ever-optimistic owner would attempt to feed that jive to the masses.

No, Johnson called for patience as his new man in charge -- John Idzik -- attempts to rebuild the organization after two straight seasons out of the postseason.

Frankly, it was stunning. Johnson always has been a win-now owner, fond of saying he goes into every season thinking Super Bowl. His attitude permeated the organization, which led to some impulsive, ill-advised personnel decisions over the years. But now it sounds like he's cool with rebuilding.

When asked if he'd ask the fan base to be patient, Johnson replied: "I think that’s absolutely perfect. Yes, be patient. Be patient and trust that we’re doing the right thing for your team. We’re trying to get better every day, and that’s why John was brought in, that’s why these other coaching changes were brought in, to make us better and more competitive. But it is going to take ... "

He caught himself, not wanting to throw out a timetable. Timetables can be dangerous, especially when you're trying to sell expensive seats.

"You have to have a little bit of faith," Johnson continued. "Watch. ... You’ve got to have some faith these decisions are going to pan out. The draft is going to work. I’m very confident the draft we had was a good one."

I think most Jets fans are willing to take one step backward if it means two steps forward in 2014. Unfortunately for Rex Ryan, that probably won't save his job. Johnson refused to be drawn into a discussion about Ryan's future, especially with regard to his contract. He has two years remaining, so 2013 is make or break.

"We’ve made some dramatic changes, so it’s going to take a little bit of time for these changes to take hold," Johnson said. "I think they will take hold. I’m not going to predict exactly when, but they will take hold. I think we’re on a very good track, making the team better. I feel very comfortable with the moves we’ve made. I’m optimistic as always."

Optimistic, perhaps. But Johnson also sent a clear, unprecedented message to the disgruntled fan base: Patience, please.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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