Opinion: Jets make right call bringing back Rex Ryan

Jets fans
Jets fans all the way south in Miami were supporting the return of Rex Ryan.
Credit: Getty Images

John Idzik made the toughest decision of his still young career as general manager of the Jets and it was the right one.

Head coach Rex Ryan is back. He was just 8-8 in a season where the Jets missed the playoffs for a third straight year, but Idzik made the right call in retaining his head coach after what might be Ryan’s best coaching job to date.

The details behind the call are well known. Despite being in rebuilding mode after they got younger on both sides of the ball, and with a rookie quarterback, Ryan still managed a better record than the year before. He learned something from the soft-spoken Idzik. Ryan was a bit more measured and contemplative this season.

The decision was made last month, so said owner Woody Johnson, who broke the news succinctly to the media in Miami. But Ryan was told, according to him, “right before the game” he would be back for the final year of his contract.

“I don’t know if that [decision] disappointed anyone or whatever. It was good,” Ryan said. “I love being head coach of the New York Jets, plain and simple. I never wanted to go out this way, another losing season.”

It was a move that was obvious even as the announcement took until the final game of the season to be made known.

Unlike in years past, when the players turned to bickering and became anonymous sources for the media, this group got tighter. There were no leaks and no dissension. He grew enough as a head coach to have a handle on his players.

Credit Idzik in part, but Ryan found the right balance in his fifth season with the Jets. There was still the affable side, the kind that players liked and loved, but he was more restrained and cautious, with an even hand.

It is an amazing accomplishment by Ryan after it all could have easily slipped away. After their Week 10 bye, with his team sitting comfortably at 5-4, it seemed like Jets were primed for the playoffs. A Cinderella season was theirs for the taking.

Instead, they lost three straight games and any realistic shot of the playoffs dropped like Ryan’s weight post-LAP-BAND surgery. But the Jets didn’t fall apart.

They closed out the season with three wins in their last four games and even their loss at the Panthers was hard-fought. As a team, they publicly say they got closer.

Idzik kept his cards close to his chest on this one, perhaps wanting to see how Ryan would respond under pressure. His team responded and rallied behind him, knowing their head coach’s job was on the line.

“We know what everybody thought of us and everything else. But we hit the field hard every day,” Ryan said. “This is a close group.”

It was a tremendous secret even in the Jets locker room as players didn’t know before the game if Ryan was coming back. But Jets ownership broke the news after the win over the Dolphins and the locker room erupted in cheers. Ryan got emotional, a moment he jokingly called “embarrassing.”

With the ability to add weapons this offseason, Ryan returns with the opportunity to take this team back to the postseason. The locker room shouldn’t be the only ones cheering. Jets fans everywhere must surely be joining in with them.

Follow Jets writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.