New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan put in as much effort as he could to secure his job last season. Rallying his team to end the season at 8-8 with two back-to-back victories against the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, he was able to be brought back for another NFL campaign. It’s been three long years since the Jets last saw a winning record and were a staple in the NFL playoffs. Do the Jets need to secure a playoff spot in order for Ryan to keep coaching past this season?
The direction of the Jets has steadily improved since last season. They were able to finally part ways with controversial and aging players like Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Ed Reed, just to name a few. There is now a new breath of fresh air within the organization that they are taking the right steps to return to glory. They were able to add more offensive weapons to their team, which was a major weakness last season. The Jets acquired top free agent wide receiver Eric Decker, filled a void on their offensive line with Breno Giacomini, and added Jacoby Ford to help with kickoff/punt returns.
However, notice how most of the Jets’ acquisitions were mainly offensive? Sure, they acquired cornerback Dimitri Patterson, but he’s hardly the kind of player Ryan would have wanted in his man-to-man style of defense. It looks like the Jets will now have to address their defensive needs, especially in their secondary, via the 2014 NFL Draft. General manager John Idzik boldly didn’t go after any of the top cornerbacks in free agency, opting to pair up a drafted rookie sensation with sophomore Dee Milliner.
Are there any goals set this season in order for Ryan to keep his job? For the most part, nothing too major. Obviously the Jets want to be above .500 and compete for the top spot in the AFC East. However, the general idea is that whether the Jets make the playoffs or not, Ryan won’t be fired for it. This means that Ryan could still continue his tenure with the Jets if they are at the bottom of the heap in the division, as long as they show heart and promise.
The Jets are in a rebuilding mode, and as much as some fans would want to disagree, Ryan is very much a part of that big plan for the future of the team. Let’s face it, he’s an incredible defensive mastermind and once he gets the true shut-down defensive players he desires on the Jets, he will march right into Super Bowl contention. Keep in mind, Ryan was the first coach in the history of the franchise to bring the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games. Getting the Jets to within a game of the Super Bowl in his first two seasons goes to show that he has what it takes to succeed in the spotlight.
From the sound of it, Ryan has the fate of his job in the palm of his hands, at least for now. It would take a complete and utter meltdown for owner Woody Johnson to pull the trigger on his release. Plus, Johnson likes the tandem of Idzik and Ryan, since they both bring a lot to the table in winning the Jets their second Super Bowl championship. One thing is for sure at this very moment though — Ryan is very much a part of Johnson’s championship plans for years to come.
Might as well stick to what works.