Rex Ryan’s job status has been one of the biggest questions surrounding the New York Jets this season, but all the questions were finally answered yesterday. Following the Jets’ season ending victory over the Miami Dolphins, owner Woody Johnson announced that Ryan would return for the final year of his contract. There is no word yet on whether or not the Jets will look to sign Ryan to a contract extension or simply allow him to coach the last year of his current deal.
Ryan has gone 42-38 in his five seasons as head coach of the Jets, making the playoffs twice and earning a 4-2 postseason record. However, the Jets have missed the playoffs three straight seasons, which is one of the biggest arguments against Ryan keeping his job. Despite that concern, his work this season was very strong, and it earned him another chance with Johnson and general manager John Idzik.
Ryan led a Jets team that was viewed by many as the worst in the NFL to an 8-8 record, which is a very impressive accomplishment. He continues to be an excellent motivator, and his locker room is steadfastly loyal to their coach. If Ryan is to stay on past next season, however, he must improve both his team’s discipline and offensive performance.
What this move shows more than anything however, is that the Jets value consistency at the top of their organization. Ryan will be one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL next season, and that type of loyalty is something free agent players and coaches value. Johnson has spoken in the past of his admiration for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Jets need only look to the rival New England Patriots to see the value of having consistency within the front office and coaching staff.
Ryan has this team moving in the right direction, and the retention of him and his staff means that the players don’t have to worry about learning a new system or changing the way the play. The Jets now know exactly what they need to accomplish this offseason to build on their solid season. The Jets have a ton of cap space and plenty of draft picks, and they will have many opportunities to improve their talent, particularly on offense. The Jets are trying to become the type of organization that consistently builds winning teams and sustains success, and keeping Ryan is the first step towards that goal.