Rex Ryan believes he’s still right man for Jets
Rex Ryan’s tenure as coach of the New York Jets could be in its
Keep Rex or Fire Rex? Well, that depends on who you ask.
There’s one guy, though, who thinks the Jets already have the
right man to lead them beyond this season.
”Of course, I believe it,” Ryan said Monday. ”No question, I
believe it. There’s no doubt, but again I’d rather get out of this
press conference and go to work. That’s how I feel about it.”
Fans and media have taken to sports talk radio and social media
with a mixed bag of opinions ranging from wanting to see Ryan get a
contract extension to hoping for a coaching staff shake-up.
The Jets (6-8) clinched a third straight non-winning season –
their first such stretch since 1994-96 – with a 30-20 loss at
Carolina on Sunday, and were eliminated from playoff contention
when Baltimore beat Detroit 18-16 on Monday night.
Mistakes, uneven play by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, injuries
to key players on offense and some questionable decisions have all
added up to another season of struggles.
Then again, very few outside of the team expected even this much
from the Jets this season.
Ryan was by no means campaigning for his job, preferring at
first to dodge questions by saying he doesn’t think about his
situation until reporters bring it up. But, a little of the coach’s
confidence reappeared when he was asked why he believes he should
”Look, I’m a competent guy, even though I know that will be
questioned a zillion times forward and backward, whatever, that’s
fine,” he said. ”But I know I’m a good football coach. I believe
in this team. I believe in this organization and I’m determined to
bring a winner to this team, there’s no question about it.
”I know and I believe that I’m the right guy for it. Now again,
I’m not the guy making that decision.”
Ryan has gotten no indication from his bosses about his future,
and neither owner Woody Johnson nor general manager John Idzik has
spoken publicly about whether the coach will be around next season.
That has led to increasing speculation that Ryan could be coaching
for his job during these last two weeks.
If that decision hasn’t already been made, of course.
”I’ll stand on a soapbox and say it: Rex is my coach,” said
right guard Willie Colon, in his first season with the Jets after
seven in Pittsburgh. ”He’s one of the main reasons I came here. I
love the guy to death. I love his passion, I love his heart.
”I think if he doesn’t come back, it will be a step back for us
as a team.”
The fact a team that set an NFL record by alternating wins and
losses for the first 10 games of the season and endured a
three-game skid was still talking about the possibility of the
playoffs is in many ways a credit to Ryan. There has been no quit
in these Jets, even when they’ve gone into several games against
opponents who were clearly superior in overall talent.
”We’re going out there and playing for Rex because he’s our
head coach and we want to play hard for him and we want to win
games for him,” Smith said. ”He coaches us hard, he puts the time
and effort in and he deserves for our team to go out and that’s
what we do every single week.”
Smith was then asked if he wants Ryan to return next season.
”I love Rex,” he said. ”And despite what decision is made, my
feelings toward him will never change.”
This is nothing new for Ryan, whose status was uncertain after
New York went 6-10 last year. Owner Woody Johnson opted to bring
him back while he fired GM Mike Tannenbaum, making for a curious
and unique situation when Idzik was hired and inherited a head
”It’s been tremendous,” Ryan insisted of his rapport with
Idzik. ”I think we both want the same thing, we both want to win.
From the day I met him, it was clear that’s what John wants to do.
He obviously wants to build a team that’s a perennial winner.”
The question, though, remains whether Ryan will indeed continue
to be part of that process.
”I think that this team is on the right path,” Ryan said. ”It
might not be reflective in our record right now, I understand that.
But I believe this team is going in the right direction.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org