Can Rex Ryan Work with a New General Manager?


Can Rex Ryan keep his job with a new general manager in town?

So, Woody Johnson has decided to take this journey with Rex Ryan remaining as the head coach. Mike Tannenbaum is out, Rex Ryan is here, and the search is on. Interviews are beginning today, with Tom Gamble, among others, coming in. Could Woody Johnson go back on his promise to keep Rex if it means keeping a better general manager candidate? Maybe. But let’s assume not. Let’s assume that one of these candidates, or one that gets added at a later date, is going to inherit Rex Ryan as head coach. Can this work?

You all know by now my feelings about Rex Ryan. I think he has done a heck of a job, despite the results the last two years. He has gotten a lot out of some less than talented teams the last couple of years, and should be commended for it. That being said, the more I think about this idea of keeping Rex Ryan on with a new general manager, the more concerned I become. I become more concerned with the idea that this could be AS BIG OF A DISASTER AS THE TIM TEBOW EXPERIMENT.

First of all, look at how our organization is run, or shall I say, not run. You think these candidates don’t know what has gone on here in NY? They know all about it. If they are going to get the keys to drive this franchise, you think they are going to keep the status quo? No way. They are going to clamp down this franchise like nobody has. Rex Ryan is going to have to get used to keeping things close to the vest. The system that he perceives to be “transparent”, will be no more. Yes, we know it’s not transparent, as we don’t get the truth too often, but he thinks it’s transparent. It certainly is a system with a lot of talking, that’s for sure. That will be no more, and Rex will have to get used to a new sheriff being in town. After four years of playing by his rules, Rex might not be too happy with it.

Nov. 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Again, say Woody sticks to his guns about keeping Rex Ryan. He tells the candidate that he likes that he can have the job on the condition that Rex Ryan is the head coach. There is no way that a general manager will agree to that as a long term arrangement. No general manager will accept being forced to keep a previous head coach long term, unless that coach had won Super Bowls. So, we can assume that this arrangement will be a one year “audition” for coach Ryan.

In this scenario, there is just about no way that the general manager will be on the same page as Rex Ryan. None. Think about it. How is a guy going to earn this job? He is going to earn it by selling Woody Johnson on a plan. He is going to show Woody how they can build a winner over a number of years. Woody is not going to bring in a guy that is going to pull together a “stop-gap” plan to win immediately. So, Woody brings in a GM with a plan, and now that GM inherits Rex Ryan, whom he has agreed to keep in a one year “audition” role. How does Rex keep his job going forward? By WINNING. Rex will be in a total “win-now” mode. His interests will not be long term, at least not right away, which is understandable. Rex is going to want to impress his new boss, in order to keep his job.

That will almost certainly put the two at odds. Rex is going to want players that might not be as long term feasible, but will get him a great record now. The GM will be putting his program into place, setting up the team for now and the future. See? By the nature of this setup, the GM and coach are almost GUARANTEED to be at odds.

Could this work? Sure. They might just find a candidate that feels good about Rex as the coach, and doesn’t have to be cajoled into keeping him around. In that case, the two men working together would be a breeze. If the new guy in charge already is fond of the coach, we will be all set to go. For all we know, Tom Gamble, coming from SF, could be all on board with the “Ground and Pound”, and be just the guy to bring Rex Ryan the players he needs. Heck, SF isn’t that different, they just have the players to execute it.

But this is the Jets. We all know they have screwed up a lot of things before. I hope they prove me wrong, but the more I think about it, I just don’t feel good about this.