John Idzik and Rex Ryan: A Match Made in Heaven?


Jul 28, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (left) and general manager John Idzik talk following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

John Idzik and Rex Ryan were forced upon each other in 2013. Like many arranged marriages long ago, many expected this one to fail. Heck, John had never worked with Rex before. There was no telling what the dynamic would be like. Would they agree on anything? Would they even gel in a working environment? Or had Rex gotten so used to getting whatever he wanted from Mike Tannenbaum, that he wouldn’t be able to adapt to change.

2013 went by, and as the Jets struggled to maintain progress, the speculation began. Would John Idzik get to bring in his own guy? Would we be saying goodbye to Rex? Could Rex win John over and earn another season? We know how the players feel about him, and how they play hard for him. But how would it turn out?

We know that answer now. Rex is back for another season, at least. Many might be surprised, as it is not common for new general managers to stay with coaches that were forced on them. It is very atypical, as the GM likes to name his own coach, but not here. Observers are thinking, how could this be? These are two very different guys.

But, what if they are a match made in heaven?

Think about it for a minute. We saw a very different Rex Ryan with the media in 2013. A very subdued Rex Ryan, who simply talked football. But if you notice, as subdued as he was, think back, he never was without confidence. The difference was it was a quiet confidence. He didn’t make any statements, any guarantees, boasts, or anything else. He simply expressed confidence in his football team.

And what else did he do? He coached. And coached. And coached.

He knew there was a new sheriff in town, and his name is John Idzik. He had to be quiet to the public and to the media. What was left for Rex to do? Teach. And Coach. Two things he does a heck of a job at.

Now let’s think about Idzik for a minute. Here comes this guy from Seattle, to serve as the calm after the storm. He is collected, business-like, and a man with a plan. His plan was to get this front office in order, and get them back to the business of football. No more leaks, strictly business.

Come the end of the season, he makes that locker room speech that we all saw. I know I was surprised, were you? He comes off as such a quiet guy, not the type that would hit the locker room to inspire football players. Watch the video again if you can, did it not seem like a little bit of Rex had rubbed off on John?

So take in broad strokes. The GM has come in and caused the coach to become more focused on doing his job, and less on boisterous media speeches. The GM brings in the players and the coach coaches them. The coach, in turn, has brought some personality out of the GM, getting him to inspire the football team at times.

It sounds like a great match to me. Here’s to a great future together.