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Does Rex Ryan Really Have All the Power with the New York Jets?

By Alan Schechter
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Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets always do things a little bit different, don’t they?

Most teams hire a general manager, and then a coach. Not the Jets. They change general managers, but making keeping the coach a CONDITION of employment. Pretty weird, huh? Backwards. That’s just how our team acts.

But, there is one thing going on with the Jets that is not backwards. There is a perception out there about the Jets’ power structure that needs to be brought back to Earth. It’s a perception of how things work with the New York Jets that absolutely isn’t true.

The perception, started most strongly by Mike Francesa here in New York but stated by other parties as well, is that Rex Ryan holds all the power inside the Jets’ headquarters. The perception is, and was before John Idzik was hired, that any player that Rex Ryan wants, Rex Ryan gets. It’s the idea that the general manager, either Mike Tannenbaum before or John Idzik now, is a figure-head, with no real power.

Let’s set something straight here and now. THIS COULDN’T BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

My evidence is not from the grandstanding that the Jets have done. Not withstanding all of the “the buck stops with me” comments that Mike Tannenbaum has made over the years, because Mike Tannenbaum said a lot of things through the years that none of us believed. We are going to actually look AWAY from statements that Mike Tannenbaum has made, and look at other evidence to prove that Rex is not the commanding voice.

Several months ago, I speculated as to whether or not there was a growing rift between Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan.  A lot of people disagreed with my speculation there, but there was evidence even back then that was undeniable, and showed that Rex didn’t always get what he wanted.  Take a look at this quote from an interview with Sports Illustrated regarding Stephen Hill:

“Well, nothing told me he would (contribute),” Ryan told Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. “Nothing. When I saw the tape (of his collegiate play) I was concerned. But (Jets general manager) Mike Tannenbaum and (senior personnel executive) Terry Bradway and all our scouts were adamant about this guy. They were adamant that this guy can do it.

Yes, Rex Ryan is always a bit tongue and cheek when he does an interview. But, in this case, he never wavers from the point that he didn’t want Stephen Hill in that spot.

So, Rex doesn’t ALWAYS get who he wants. Turn the page, and we will talk about the current situation.

Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

John Idzik is now the general manager, and it’s a new day. We haven’t heard a lot of the goings on around the New York Jets these days, aside from the occasional story about a backup quarterback coming in for a workout. The culture is already changing around the team, and it’s only been a couple of months.

But now, let’s get back to the original question. Is Rex Ryan holding all the power now?

Still, the answer is no.

At first look, you might think Rex does have the control. However you perceived John Idzik’s words at his opening press conference, he clearly is a quiet guy. He is very much the anti-Rex, in that he is not going to be a verbally commanding person. He is soft spoken, and going to lead by what he does, not what he says.

Also, take into account the fact that Rex Ryan might be a lame duck coach this year. A new GM isn’t going to give a coach he was stuck with, more than a year shot. You might think that a soft spoken new GM, with a brash head coach that he inherited, would give that coach anything he wants in order to succeed.

That is not the case here, and I will tell you why.

If Rex Ryan had all the power, do you think for one second, he would allow for even the possibility of Darrelle Revis being traded? In a year that he requires success, or will likely lose his job, he would accept the idea of trading away his best player? Hell no! Yeah I know he said that there was no truth to the rumors. He did everything he could to quiet the story. But, if he had all that power, we wouldn’t still be hearing about the possibility. It would be done.

It is not done. The rumor is out there. And that is why Rex Ryan does NOT hold the power anymore.

Sorry Fatcessa.

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