All decisions are “Jets decisions,” so says head coach Rex Ryan in defending how the team handles its personnel.
General manager John Idzik seemed to undermine the head coach he inherited on Saturday, saying decisions such as the outcome of the quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith would be done by committee. The comments emasculated Ryan, who typically would have the final say on personnel decisions as head coach.
Playing defense from the podium, Ryan painted all decisions as done by committee, even those that would fall under his control.
“What’s funny is, I’ll sit down and talk to the quarterbacks and ultimately that’s who’s telling the quarterback,” Ryan said. “But at no time is it a one-man show. It’s always a team decision. That’s the way it’s always been. Whether it’s talking about a player or it’s talking about the draft. The decision on who to play at quarterback, in particular, absolutely, it’s always been a New York Jet decision. It’s always been that way.”
Idzik’s admission that management and the coaching staff will decide on the fate of Sanchez or Smith made his head coach backpedal. With a new general manager in place, Ryan is left in a position where he must win or face the music on his future with the team.
A league source tells Metro New York that since his arrival in 2009, Ryan has always had final say on playing time and the final say in who starts.
“It was always discussed, but it was his call,” the source said. “Rex always decided who played.”
In the past, Ryan has said decisions such as the one to bench Sanchez late last season were made by him. On Sunday, he backed off those clear-cut words and instead tried to portray that as an attempt to be the lighting rod to deflect criticism.
“I just thought that why put it on somebody else or whatever, that way you could ask one person the deal,” Ryan said. “But at no time was that ever just my decision. It was always a ‘Jet decision.’”
The “Odd Couple” relationship of Idzik and Ryan appears to be a subservient one where the head coach is clearly bobbing along as the tide of management ebbs and flows.
“I think you guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Ever since I’ve been here — this is my fifth year here — not one decision has been made by one man. Not one decision,” Ryan said.
“It’s so smooth, it’s bad. You guys are trying to make this a situation that doesn’t exist. Because I know I have complete support from John, from [owner] Woody [Johnson], from everybody in this organization. If it was taken a certain way, it shouldn’t be.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from training camp.