Rex Ryan is a guy that has brought about a lot of debate within the Jets’ fan base over the last couple of years. The biggest question is if he works well enough with the entire team to be an effective head coach over the long haul. Many fans love him and say yes, while others think his time as the head coach might be coming to an end.
With a new general manager arriving last season in the form of John Idzik, many thought the Jets needed to have a great season, otherwise Rex Ryan was going to be let go. They finished 8-8, and announced on the last day of the season that Rex was going to be retained. After all they went through, it really wasn’t a surprise, many argued that 2013 was Rex’s best coaching job so far, taking a team that didn’t have a lot on it to an 8-8 record.
If you saw the reaction to his being retained, you know how the players feel about the coach. Despite that, many felt that keeping Rex around for 2014 would be delaying the inevitable, that he would have to make the playoffs, otherwise be let go following the 2014 season.
Well, if you listen to the source located by Kristian Dyer from the Metro, this is not the case. Earlier this week he wrote an article, in which he cited an anonymous source within the team, stating that Rex Ryan is not a “playoff or bust” mandate.
Until we hear from the team directly, it is hard to tell what they are thinking with absolute certainty, as we have all learned by now. However, if this source is correct, the Jets are making the absolute correct call.
Take a look at a quote from the source, and the reasoning to keep Rex around comes abundantly clear:
“He’s very much in the second year of a rebuilding project,” the source said. “There’s an understanding about that, so it isn’t as simple as, ‘Make the playoffs or you get fired, Rex.’ It isn’t that simple. There’s a good working relationship with John, they get along very well and Rex is clearly on John’s page. To say that he’s on thin ice or there’s a playoff mandate simply isn’t true. Far more goes into the decision than that. He won’t be judged solely on the basis of if he led the team to the playoffs or not.”
Granted, it is not often that a new general manager inherits a coach, and keeps that coach long term. Typically, that new general manager brings in a coach that he knows well, and is comfortable with. Why? Because he knows that the coach will be on the same page as he is.
The situation with Rex and John Idzik is clearly different. They have figured out to work together, and clearly ARE on the same page. John Idzik is setting the team up for long-term success, and Rex clearly gets that. How do we know? Because he can still get the players to play for him. Have they quit on him? No. If there were tension from the top, he would have lost these players by now.
The Jets are rebuilding their team. The process is ongoing, and they are in the second year of that process. To make a move with the coach now will set the team backwards. They have progressed as a team in the two years, and to bring in a new on the field regime would severely hamper that growth.
Now that’s not saying that if the Jets went 2-14 in 2014 that they should not consider firing Rex Ryan. They absolutely should. But, does that seem likely with a Rex Ryan team? Not really. If they are truly planning on keeping him around, kudos to the Jets.
Because keeping Rex Ryan is the right idea.