FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rex Ryan doesn't get the conspiracy theories.
You know, the ones floating around that maybe the New York Jets have no faith in second-year quarterback Geno Smith, so they ran the ball 49 times against the Miami Dolphins to keep the ball out of his hands.
"I understand the fact that we didn't win and the passing attempts weren't there," Ryan said Wednesday of Smith's 7 of 13 performance Monday night. "But it had nothing to do with us not having confidence in Geno Smith. That's completely false."
The Jets ran for a whopping 277 yards against the Dolphins, including 210 in the first half. Chris Johnson had his best game with the Jets, rushing for 105 yards, and Chris Ivory added 62.
Miami stiffened a bit in the last two quarters — but New York stuck to its run-first approach on offense. Five of Smith's 13 throws came on the final drive as the Jets tried to set up for at least a tying field goal.
Because of the incredibly lopsided run-pass ratio, it could lead to misinterpretation and false accusations.
"I can't understand it," Ryan said. "And the reason I'm saying I can't understand that is, you go in with a game plan, what's the best thing for our team? Well, we need to run the football. And we had talked about trying to establish the running game against a very good defense. Did we think we were going to average 8 yards a carry at that point? I don't think anybody anticipated it.
"Obviously, you hope for it, but I don't think you think it's happening. But we kept running and we felt great about it."
Until, of course, the Jets didn't win.
Ryan then referenced New England going run-heavy against Indianapolis three weeks ago when the Patriots rushed for 244 yards, including 201 by Jonas Gray in a 42-20 victory.
"Everybody was praising New England for running it however many times they ran it the other week and you have a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady," Ryan said. "They're a genius, and we're not quite there. So, you can run the ball. Everybody would have been happy as heck had we won."
But the Jets didn't, falling to 2-10 and becoming the subject of heavy criticism.
"I don't feel like apologizing for running for 300 yards," Ryan said. "I understand we never won the game, so there's some questions there. I get that. But for us being effective in the ground game and to that extent, I don't necessarily understand it."
Smith will get the start at Minnesota on Sunday, his second straight game back under center after being benched for three. Despite saying that as a quarterback, he obviously loves to throw the ball and get into a rhythm, Smith didn't criticize the game plan against Miami.
"We're running the ball so well in that game, we were up and time of possession was so good for us," Smith said, "that I think what we did by sticking to the game plan was definitely the best thing for us to do."
No matter how unusual it was, or what the critics think. Michael Vick even went so far to say it was a "great" approach against the Dolphins.
"It might have been a little boring to you guys because you all want to see some action," Vick said. "You all want to see interceptions and fumbles and incomplete passes. I thought it was pretty cool, man. Just a different game plan, a different approach."
Vick took issue with the idea that he was "benched" in favor of Smith after just three starts in which he won one game and had just one turnover.
"I just look at it as an opportunity for this organization to figure out the things that they need to figure out," he said, "and see what they need to see."
Ryan had previously said he would give some of the younger, inexperienced players increased opportunities during the final month. Linebackers Ikemefuna Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly and defensive tackle T.J. Barnes all saw more playing time against Miami.
But it also could apply to Smith, who has four more games to show whether he can be a viable option at quarterback moving forward. Still, Ryan insisted he'd again sign up for a run-heavy game plan if it meant a victory — and didn't necessarily help determine Smith's abilities.
"There's a fine line between evaluating and winning," Ryan said. "The winning, that's what it's all about."
Especially for a coach whose days with the franchise could be numbered.
"I want to win. I don't want to be 2-14, I can tell you that much," Ryan said. "It's bad enough being 2-10. So, you have to understand that we want to win over anything."
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