New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan was on the hot seat at the end of the season, but he saved himself by leading the Jets to wins over the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins in the final two games, with the victory over the rival Dolphins being especially impressive. The Jets out-coached and beat the Dolphins in every single phase of the game in a 20-7 victory on the road, and that win knocked the Dolphins out of the playoffs. It also ensured that Ryan, who somehow led a rebuilding team’s roster to an 8-8 finish despite preseason predictions that this team would be in the running for the No. 1 pick, would be retained by the New York Jets for at least one season.
Ryan obviously wants a long-term deal and some security, but the Jets are unwilling to commit to him for more than just the 2014 season. Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network reported yesterday that the Jets will only give him a one-year extension, which means that Ryan will be signed through 2015. This extension only stops 2014 from being a lame-duck year, but the message is the same; it’s win or else.
That’s a pretty strict message to make for a team that still has some holes to fill up, and I feel like the rebuild and future success of the Jets is more up to new GM John Idzik than Rex Ryan. When you hire a new GM and keep the old head coach, it usually creates some friction, and it seems like there is some friction within the organization due to Idzik. Based on reports that circulated over the weekend, it seems like Idzik wants to hire his head coach of choice instead of rolling with Ryan, though it’s clear to me that Ryan gives them the best chance of winning. Not only is he great with coaching defenses, but he’s brought results despite inferior talent and knows how to get his players to play for him. Now, it’s up to Idzik to actually provide Geno Smith and the Jets with a legit No. 1 receiver, as well as a legit safety (among other needs).