Jets players endorse Rex Ryan returning as head coach
Rex Ryan will get another year as head coach to fix a mess that by and large wasn’t his fault.
In a statement issued by the Jets on Monday morning, owner Woody Johnson fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum after 15 years with the team. But he also announced Ryan would return.
“Rex Ryan will remain the head coach of our football team,” Johnson said in a statement. “I believe that he has the passion, the talent and the drive to successfully lead our team.”
But it wouldn’t be the Jets unless there was an odd twist. Ryan’s 4:45 p.m. press conference was cancelled as a team spokesman told reporters it was “an organizational decision” to cancel the head coach’s media availability.
“Everybody is just kind of looking around, waiting to hear the next bit of news and move on from there,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “I’m confident that Rex can take us to where we need to go, that he can inspire this team and bring us back from where we are now.”
This season marked the second straight year the Jets missed the playoffs and had more losses than the year before. Now in his fourth year with the Jets, Ryan has to find the right mix for a team that during his first two seasons as head coach made consecutive AFC Championship game appearances.
His highly touted defense will need some work as well, as they finished No. 8 in the league in total defense, the worst ranking during his time with the Jets. The offense was No. 30, another sharp drop for a unit that is two years removed from being the No. 11 offense.
Ryan is 34-30 in his four seasons with the Jets and remains the only head coach in franchise history to make a conference championship game in back-to-back seasons.
The general consensus around the locker room on Monday was that Ryan wasn’t the problem but that a team lacking star power was largely to blame. It didn’t help that early in the season the team’s best players on either side of the ball, cornerback Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, were lost with season ending injuries.
“I think Rex is a great coach,” Revis said. “Just looking outside in, we need to evaluate this offseason and try to get some guys in here, some playmakers in here who can come in here and make plays.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.