Rex Ryan’s status with Jets remains unclear
If it came down to a vote of players, media and fans, Rex Ryan
would be back with the New York Jets next season.
In a landslide.
But the court of public opinion will likely play very little
into the final decision by owner Woody Johnson and general manager
John Idzik. Ryan’s status as coach of the Jets is still difficult
”We’re working on Miami, and that’s where 100 percent of the
focus is,” Ryan insisted Monday.
It could be the final game of Ryan’s five-year tenure with the
Jets (7-8), who have failed to make the playoffs for three straight
seasons. Ryan still has one more year remaining on his contract, so
the speculation that the coach is in his final days with the Jets
could be overstated.
Neither Johnson nor Idzik has commented, and that has led to
debates, discussions and arguments whether Ryan deserves to be
back. Ryan also declined to comment on whether the owner or GM has
spoken to him about his future.
”Guys,” Ryan said, ”I think the entire organization’s
committed on trying to find a way to beat Miami.”
Several of Ryan’s players have used the word ”love” when
talking about their feelings for their coach during the last few
weeks. Many fans have taken to sports talk radio and social media
to show their support, with one even starting a petition that had
gathered nearly 200 signatures on the site change.org imploring
Johnson to keep Ryan.
The hashtag KeepRex on Twitter has also picked up some steam
since the Jets’ 24-13 victory over Cleveland on Sunday.
”It’s just one of those things where he really cares about his
players,” wide receiver David Nelson said. ”Players appreciate
that. Players know and they respect him for that. They believe in
him and they respect him and they play hard for him.
”I think it’s just the mutual respect he gives his
Several national and New York-area football columnists have
presented compelling arguments why Ryan coming back should be a
no-brainer. No. 1 among them is the fact Ryan has squeezed seven
wins out of a team expected to have a tough time approaching last
year’s 6-10 squad.
Despite the overwhelming show of support, Ryan reportedly told
his team Saturday night that ”word on the street” is that he’s
out after the season. There was also a published report that said
Ryan was angry that the team has begun considering possible
”I’m not disgruntled about anything,” Ryan insisted, while
neither confirming nor denying the reports. ”I’m excited about the
opportunity that’s in front of us, which is the Dolphins.”
Ryan was retained last season when Johnson fired GM Mike
Tannenbaum, a surprising move considering many anticipated the Jets
would start from scratch – including the coach. Instead, Idzik was
hired under the condition that Ryan would be his coach, at least
for this season.
Now, Idzik could be looking to hire his own coach, as is usually
the case with NFL GMs. But Idzik is also looking for the ”right”
”He’s a player’s coach, a guy that we all love to play for, we
all love to compete for,” rookie quarterback Geno Smith said. ”We
all play for one another around here and it’s a very close-knit
bunch. Rex just has continued to be himself and that’s the reason
why we love him, and that’s the reason why we continue to go out
there and work hard in practice and continue to play hard.”
In a short video posted on the team’s website of Ryan’s postgame
speech Sunday, Johnson could be seen smiling and clapping as the
fired-up coach celebrated the victory. While that could be merely
trying to garner clues from body language, there’s also this to
consider: If Johnson’s preference is to keep Ryan but he allows
Idzik to make whatever move he sees fit, the heat on the GM could
be immense if the franchise takes a step back without Ryan.
Idzik would also, in a span of less than a year, be the guy who
traded the popular Darrelle Revis and fired Ryan. They would be
bold – and mostly unpopular – moves, and decisions that could
define Idzik’s legacy.
But for six more days at least, Ryan will continue to treat
things as business as usual.
”Well, that’s easy,” Ryan said. ”I have a job to do.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org