Rex Ryan is his man — for now.
Jets general manager John Idzik is standing by his head coach, even after a tumultuous three weeks that has seen Ryan come under increasing scrutiny. It was Ryan’s decision to put likely starting quarterback Mark Sanchez into the fourth quarter of the third preseason game, when he suffered a right shoulder injury that will cost him the start of the year. Then Ryan had a meltdown in front of the media after the game, including infamously turning his back on a reporter.
Surprisingly, the stodgy Idzik said, “he’s done a great job,” even as the two have been pinned as polar opposites.
“I only know one Rex. I know the Rex I’ve been working alongside since January. It’s been a true joy. I’ve said it before, he’s been marvelous to work with,” Idzik said. “I think he’s done an outstanding job in some of the things we’ve had to go through in the offseason, preseason, leading up to this game.”
It has been assumed that Idzik, the first-year general manager, would want to force Ryan out by year’s end. After all, very few general managers inherit a head coach and the colorful Ryan is a far cry from Idzik, who keeps his cards close to his vest.
His head coach’s choice to insert Sanchez late in the third preseason game is one Idzik said, “We regret the fact that he was injured. We feel terribly about that.”
But Idzik only sounded support for Ryan’s handling of the situation, including the decision to put Sanchez into the game at that late juncture, behind a second-team offensive line.
“I’ll say this, I’m fully supportive of Rex Ryan. Our staff is fully supportive of Rex Ryan. We had a plan going into that game. Anytime you have a plan in football, we’re in an industry of adjustments,” Idzik said. “It is adjustments during the week, it is adjustments during a game. A lot of time it is adjusting due to injuries. We had to deal with that during the summer, especially at the quarterback position. Three of our four had injuries affect their practice and play time. We went into that game with a plan to see — because injuries had limited some guys — to plan to see as much as we could in four quarters. Rex executed that plan.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.