FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan is in an unfamiliar position as he heads into his sixth season as the head coach of the New York Jets.
With quarterback Geno Smith entrenching himself as the starter and a reliable ground-and-pound offense, he finally has an offense he can rely on and a defense filled with question marks.
Of course, the ever-optimistic Ryan doesn't see it that way. As far as he's concerned, the gaping holes at cornerback are merely opportunities waiting to be seized by players who are going to step up their games once the regular season starts Sept. 7.
"We have given up our share this preseason for sure," Ryan said during a conference call on Friday.
That's putting it charitably.
The Jets were torched through the air throughout the exhibition season, during which they gave up 886 yards passing, eight touchdowns and surrendered an average of 6.4 yards per pass while intercepting only two passes.
The final totals were somewhat inflated by the Jets giving up 292 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday's 37-7 loss to Philadelphia.
Then again, the Jets used the exhibition finale as an audition of sorts as they search for depth at cornerback, which has been ravaged by injuries to projected starter Dee Milliner and promising rookie Dexter McDougle.
Not to mention the bizarre is-he-AWOL-or-is-he-not absence of veteran Dimitri Patterson.
In addition, the Jets gave up more passing yardage with each successive game, from 163 yards against Indianapolis on Aug 7 to 211 against Cincinnati on Aug. 22 and 220 against the Giants on Aug. 21.
And they were torched equally by starters (the Bengals' Andy Dalton was a perfect 8-for-8) and reserves (the Giants' Ryan Nassib went 8-for-12 for 103 yards) alike.
"I think when our guys get out there, I think we'll be fine," Ryan said.
Whomever is out there at cornerback against Oakland -- and veterans Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster seem to be the most likely choices by default -- will surely be challenged early and often by either veteran Matt Schaub or rookie Derek Carr.
"They throw the ball deep, as everybody knows," Ryan said of the Raiders. "That's been their M.O. for years, and they still keep to that tradition.
"So that's kind of their blueprint; so we are definitely going to be tested the first week."
And for 15 more weeks after.
NOTES: CB Dimitri Patterson's weird tale took another turn Thursday, when he issued a statement to ESPN saying that he and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were in communication with the Jets leading up to the preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 22. Patterson, of course, didn't report to MetLife Stadium for the game, and Jets coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik said on Aug. 24 that they didn't know Patterson's whereabouts until the day after the game. Patterson was suspended for the remainder of the preseason on Aug. 26. Ryan said Friday he has yet to speak to Patterson since the player made his comments. ... S Josh Bush (quad) left the preseason finale against the Eagles and was seen limping in the locker room following the 37-7 loss. Coach Rex Ryan said Friday he wasn't sure if Bush would be able to play against Oakland in the regular season opener on Sept. 7. ... LB Nick Bellore (calf) left the preseason finale against the Eagles. Ryan said Friday that the recovery from the injury could be a one- or two-week process.