Heading into this season, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan was on one of the hottest seats in the NFL, and many people considered him a lame duck coach. As the season has progressed, Ryan’s job security has fluctuated with the Jets’ wins and losses, leaving many questions about his future with the organization. The Jets are now 6-8 and will play the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins in their final two games, and the results of those contests will have a big impact on Ryan’s status.
Ryan is in his fifth season as Jets head coach, and he has compiled a 40-38 record in the regular season with two playoff appearances and 4-2 record in playoff games. However, this will be third straight year the Jets have missed the playoffs, and it could be their second straight season with a losing record. Neither of those facts bode well for Ryan, as his contract expires at the end of the season.
Three straight seasons without a playoff appearance is often cause for coaches to be fired, and it would be no surprise if the Jets moved on from Ryan. If the Jets lose both of their final two games, it is a near certainty that they would let Ryan go. If they split, finishing 7-9, I still believe that they would decide to find a new coach. In my opinion, the Jets must win both of their final two games and finish 8-8 in order for Ryan to have any chance at returning next season.
Even in that scenario, I believe Ryan is fighting an uphill battle. General manger John Idzik wanted to bring in his coach last season, and now that the Jets will miss the playoffs again, he will have a much stronger argument to take before owner Woody Johnson. Furthermore, the offense has been a disaster in each of the last three seasons, and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that Ryan can build and run a complete a football team. Ryan is a defensive genius, but the pathetic offense has cost the Jets many games in recent seasons, and fans are fed up with the failures.
The Jets are an organization that could use a change, likely to an offensive minded coach. The Jets have regressed over the last few seasons with Ryan at the helm, and even a solid finish to this season won’t change that fact. I don’t believe that Ryan can save his job over the final two weeks, because the Jets’ performance over the last three years is simply too poor to overcome. It is time for a coaching change in New York, and it should be coming after this season.