Jets’ Rex, Idzik show unified front into offseason
Rex Ryan and John Idzik were all smiles, laughing a few times
while wrapping up the New York Jets’ season and looking to the
The coach and general manager presented a united front,
convinced things are heading in the right direction as tag-team
”The gavel has dropped on 2013,” said Idzik, seated next to
Ryan. ”We look at 2014, and we have a fine nucleus here in the
building, a fine nucleus in the locker room.”
And, in Idzik’s mind, the right coach to build off an 8-8 season
with an eye on a return to the postseason after three straight
years under Ryan without a playoff trip.
Ryan, who has one year left on his deal, was retained by owner
Woody Johnson for next season after his job appeared in jeopardy.
It had been speculated that Idzik could want to hire a coach of his
choice this offseason, but the two gushed about their working
”I never felt that I wasn’t John’s coach,” Ryan said. ”I felt
that I’m his coach regardless of how the situation was, that’s kind
of how I feel.”
Ryan said he’s ”comfortable” with his current contract,
although the coach and GM would not address questions about whether
an extension is in the works. It is believed the team would like to
give only a one-year extension, while Ryan would like a longer-term
Idzik would neither confirm nor deny reports that the Jets were
considering possible replacement candidates, saying any internal
discussions would remain private.
But they also insisted that despite their personality
differences – the loose, joking Ryan and the mostly reserved Idzik
– they’re a fine match.
”We have a lot of similarities and maybe it’s because we’re
from similar backgrounds, the same generation of football,” Idzik
said. ”But more than that, when you’re working that closely with
somebody, he just makes it fun.
”Rex, you make it fun.”
There weren’t many clear, definitive answers given by Idzik or
Ryan about the future of the franchise, and there were no Super
Bowl guarantees, as Ryan made when he was first hired in 2009. But
both Idzik and Ryan made it clear that they expect good things for
”We don’t put timelines on anything, but I can say this: Every
season we lineup, that’s our goal,” Idzik said. ”Our goal is to
get there. Our goal is to win our division. Our goal is to play in
the postseason. Our goal is bringing the prize home for our Jets
fans, for New York and New Jersey and everyone that’s behind
Whether Geno Smith is the quarterback to take the Jets to that
next level remains to be seen. The two would not commit to Smith as
the starter heading into next season, but were encouraged by his
strong finish to his rookie season.
Smith had just 12 touchdowns and a whopping 21 interceptions and
four lost fumbles. But in his last four games, Smith threw for 790
yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with three
”Just like with any offense, we want to score, obviously, but
we also want to prevent points and you do that by taking care of
the football,” Ryan said. ”I thought Geno improved by leaps and
bounds in this area as the season went on.”
Idzik called Smith a ”very resilient young man,” but
acknowledged that the team will explore their options throughout
the roster – and that includes at the quarterback position. That
could be through free agency, to bring in a proven veteran who
could push Smith or even win the job. Or, perhaps in the draft.
”With that said, we’re very excited to have Geno Smith as a New
York Jet,” Idzik said.
Idzik also said the team would consider upgrading the skill
positions on offense, particularly at wide receiver and tight end,
spots that were inconsistent and affected by injuries – and
contributed to Smith’s struggles at times.
Idzik plans to meet with Ryan through this week to discuss his
coaching staff, including the fates of several of the coach’s
assistants who were in the final year of their contracts. That
includes close friend and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.
”The thing I’ll say about this man is he wants to bring a
winner here to the New York Jets,” Ryan said. ”He has a burning
desire to do that, and to bring a perennial winner here to where we
win on a consistent basis.
”As a coach, that’s exactly what you want. That’s music to your
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