Jets Owner Still Won’t Say If Ryan Will Be Back
By Jared Diamond & Stu Woo
In his four-and-a-half seasons as the Jets’ head coach, Rex Ryan has taken his team to two conference-title games. So far this year, he is pulling off another remarkable feat by leading a squad, which many football experts before the season labeled as mincemeat, to a 4-3 record.
That pleases team owner Woody Johnson, though he still won’t say whether he’s committed to the continued employment of his provocative coach.
“We’re happy with Rex,” Johnson said. “Coaches have to be good teachers and good leaders. I think he’s both.”
Speaking at a Thursday-morning event to promote the upcoming Super Bowl, which the Giants and Jets are hosting at MetLife Stadium in February, Johnson declined to answer a question about whether Ryan would still be the coach after this year.
“I will make a statement after the season,” he said. “I never make any comments regarding contracts during the season.”
Since taking over the Jets in 2009, Ryan has a 42-35 record, including postseason wins. But after making the AFC title game two years in a row, the Jets bumbled, and their 6-10 record last season made football fans wonder whether they could win even four games this year, a tally they’ve already reached before the season’s midpoint.
“I go in thinking we’re going to win every game,” Johnson said. “I’m not surprised from that standpoint. I have a lot of confidence in the team and the players and the coaches and that’s evidencing itself. Now, we’re 4-3, so we have a long way to go. There’s a lot left to the season.”
Johnson said the relationship between Ryan and John Idzik, the general manager he hired over the off-season, is “very good.”
“I think they get along,” he said. “John is very inclusive in the way he makes his personnel decisions. They’re made collectively.”
Though Ryan still has a season-and-a-half left on his contract, some team owners tend to extend contracts or fire coaches before the coach enters the last year of his contract. Marty Schottenheimer, who has been head coach of four different NFL teams, said it is difficult for head coaches to do their jobs if they lack job security.
“They lose touch with the players,” Schottenheimer said. The players “figure if they don’t do well, well, ‘He’s gone. He’s not going to be back, so we don’t have to worry about him.’ ”
As he has all season, Ryan declined to talk about his contract situation at his Thursday news conference. But he did say he was happy to hear Johnson’s overall comments.
“I like the fact that my boss said some nice things about me,” Ryan said. “That’s pretty cool.”