The state of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s tenure will undoubtedly be a topic of discussion throughout the 2013 season. It is obvious that Ryan has fallen out of favor with many fans and has been put on a short leash by owner Woody Johnson.
Despite Johnson’s denial of such a fact, this upcoming year will truly make or break a man who not that long ago was beloved by all who support the Jets. A borderline genius approach to defense helped Ryan land this job in 2009 over candidates who had held this position before. His brash confidence won the hearts of players who willingly went into battle for him. Talent already in place such as middle linebacker David Harris gelled perfectly with incoming players like safety Jim Leonhard and fellow middle linebacker Bart Scott. Together they turned this unit into one of the more feared groups in the NFL.
It was Ryan’s vision to couple an aggressive defense with a power running offense. This worked for much of his first three years. Unfortunately, when results changed, he showed either an inability, or unwillingness to adjust.
As quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled, the coach refused to bench him. Other teams switched to a faster paced offense, while Ryan wanted to stick with his way. That put added pressure on the other side of the ball. Ryan has also stated his fear of being fired. A transition in the front office also put him on notice.
John Idzik was hired as general manger earlier this offseason. Usually when there is a switch at this position, they like to bring in their own head coach. Johnson’s decision however, creates a divide in the organization.
Idzik is trying to build for the future, while Ryan must win now. Cornerback Darrelle Revis’ situation serves as a great example of this balance. Ryan wants to hold onto Revis, arguably his best player. On the other hand, more picks in the NFL Draft allows Idzik to address more needs. Johnson has put this franchise in an awkward position, while Ryan is just trying to be on the sidelines past 2013.