Rex Ryan must return to the Jets next season, period.
In today’s “I-need-it-done-yesterday” world, coaches come and go. There are times when a coach is clearly in over his head. That isn’t the case with Ryan.
Does his brashness drive people crazy at times? Of course. But he’s a man who can coach and relate to his players. His defensive schemes have confused the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Offensively, he’s not one to be confused with the late Bill Walsh. In fact, Ryan’s hands-off-the-offense attitude has been a detriment at times.
But two AFC Championship Game appearances and the possibility of winning eight games with a roster that doesn’t have an abundance of offensive talent should be enough to let Ryan ride out the final year of his deal with a chance to earn an extension.
In addition to the Jets’ dealing with a rookie quarterback, there was an injured wide receiver and tight end and there’s been an overhaul of the running back. Somehow, Ryan squeezed out seven wins, which included triumphs over the Saints and Patriots. Ryan certainly believes he’s the man for this team.
“I told you this team is on the climb. It’s on the rise,” he said after Sunday’s 24-13 win over the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium.
His players love him, especially Geno Smith, who said, “You saw guys out there playing with passion … I don’t think there’s a better coach-player relationship in the league.”
Ryan’s contract runs through next season. Although it’s not clear if a decision has been made regarding his future, it is believed that the Cleveland game and Sunday’s season finale in Miami will have an impact.
Another factor that could work in Ryan’s favor is continuity. The Jets have had five head coaches since 1997. It’s hard to build a winner with a revolving door that turns every few years.
Compare the Jets’ coaching history with the Steelers’, which includes three coaches since 1969, or the Giants’, which includes just five coaches in 30 years. Bill Belichick has been at the helm of the Patriots since 2000.
See a pattern? The Jets have a chance to build something. If General Manager John Idzik can get the offense going, Ryan could win big.