The Rundown: From gladhanding to panhandling?

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

When Rex & Co. gladhanded die-hard fans who stayed to the end of the Jets 24-13 win over the Browns, a simple act of gratitude by Jets coaches and players became the lede around the football watching world.

Rex Ryan

What does this mean?  Was it some sort of dire portent?  What can we draw from this atypical behavior from a head coach and his team after a December NFL game?

Unfortunately, this will be the biggest football story remaining for both New York teams over the next week until it is resolved one way or another.  Reporters and columnists will be crawling all over the team to get the scoop first.  Those who relish barking that the Jets are a circus act could become one of the rings under the big top themselves this week.

Unsurprising that the Daily News‘ Gary Meyers could find an unseemly meaning.

… after the game, Ryan and the players did a victory lap around MetLife, high-fiving fans. A victory lap for a team that is 7-8? That’s a little strange. But it was the Jets’ last home game of the season and maybe it was just Ryan’s way of saying a fond farewell to Jets Nation. Typical Ryan. Always with the drama.

Ugh.  Who else on the beat would make the knee-jerk assumption that a simple moment of fan appreciation should be interpreted as a self-aggrandizing moment at best, or taking innocent Jets fans as human-shields at worst?

Typical Meyers.  Always with misanthropy.

In my humble opinion, the best columnists are the ones who will own their instincts while appraising the situation as simply as possible without ascribing any sort of agenda or cheap shot … like say Newday‘s Bob Glauber.

My gut feeling is that a change will be made, that Idzik — even though he no doubt is impressed by the way Ryan has squeezed seven wins out of a team that few expected to win more than three or four — will turn the page and hire his own guy.

[…]

Only Johnson and Idzik know for sure, and they’re not saying.

Ryan has made his case about as well as you could ask for a coach with a rebuilding team and a rookie quarterback.

He hopes it’s enough to give him another shot at more victory laps around MetLife Stadium. But he knows that decision no longer is in his control.

It seems to be the safe money to bet that Ryan will be gone.  While everyone seems to be focusing on the impending dismissal of Ryan, Jason from NYJetsCap.com (who doesn’t think Rex will return) offers some solutions for the Jets if they do keep Ryan around for 2014.

If Idzik has decided to stick with Rex than he has to be committed to building a throwback style team. While on its face that may seem counter productive, the fact is with 32 teams built to stop great QB’s they will have a hard time adjusting to that one weird team that does not conform to the norm. That is a big reason for the success of the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and even 2012. They presented a physical matchup that teams were not ready for.

… you can’t dabble in double talk about building that way and [then] have Rex talking about pistols and option games. You have to commit to building a physical team that is going to have a brand of football that fits Ryan’s style. Unless you luck into Russell Wilson (and that team was built in that 49ers mold) Ryan will never field a good offense. Give him an Alex Smith type QB, invest heavily in the line, and find bigger sure handed possession WRs and maybe he can do what he needs to get the team somewhere. But the Geno, S. Hill, S. Holmes, Winters, Colon, etc…team is not going to get the job done.

Will Idzik be willing to make those moves?  Will he even want to?  He comes from a tough-nosed football family and to Ryan’s credit, both the Bucs and Seahawks built themselves in that model.  So it might not be that far from Idzik’s comfort zone.

With a bargain basement spree of talent this year by the Jets when it came to offense, any move the Jets make this offseason could realistically be argued as an upgrade.  With upwards of $48 million burning a hole in their pocket and a complement of draft picks, it’s a fact that there is going to be a sea-change of talent coming to the Jets in 2014.  Does Idzik want to use that boost to ensconce himself rather than his holdover coach?

Rich Cimini writes for ESPN NY that there seems to be some organizational uncertainty at the decision-maker level on how to proceed.  

Updated link  with his better insight from Monday morning from Cimini.  Cap tip to commenter WW85.

I’m told that Johnson would like to keep Ryan, but that general manager John Idzik is undecided, which I assume means he’s looking to make a change.  This creates a fascinating dynamic. Obviously, it’s Johnson’s team, so he can do what he pleases, but he hired Idzik a year ago to run the football operation. It’s possible that Johnson will defer to Idzik, but Johnson has been known to take charge in these situations. After the 2008 season, Johnson wanted to fire Eric Mangini, so he overstepped then-GM Mike Tannenbaum (a close friend of Mangini) and made the decision to sack him.

Rex and IdzikIf there’s anything I’ve gathered from the year analyzing John Idzik from afar, it is that he is nothing if not decisive.  His decisions might take time to play out (see the drawn out Revis trade or cutting Tim Tebow) but it’s hard to imagine that anything that might take place in the final two weeks of the 2013 season would sway Idzik.  More than likley the Jets GM is carefully collecting evidence to take to his boss to state his case next Sunday night to get what he wants — knowing that he might be fighting a uphill battle.  

Translation: any indecision on Idzik’s part might be disingenuous as he gets the prosecution’s case ready for trial.

Woody might see the impending talent coming in 2014 and know that would be a boon to the team’s playoff chances and thus Rex Ryan.  For those reasons, maybe Woody is still unconvinced on Ryan’s dismissal.

Of course, Woody could quash any speculation about Rex’s future by endorsing his coach outright, but he’s not done that.  The New York Post‘s Steve Serby points out the the silence of the team’s general manager and owner speaks volumes on the state of affairs.

If ever there was the chance for owner Woody Johnson to stop Ryan from twisting in the wind, it was here and now, after Smith brought the Jets back from a 10-point deficit, after Ryan led his players on a victory lap to thank the fans after Jets 24, Browns 13.

“I’m not going to say anything about coaches or players,” Johnson said.

Asked about a Fox report Ryan had told the players Saturday night “word on the street” was blaring he was a goner, Johnson said: “We’re going to answer all those questions after the season.”

That hardly sounds like a man inclined to save from Idzik’s scythe the coach he once so revered.

For Ryan, the silence must be deafening, his relationship with Idzik not nearly as chummy as it was with Mike Tannenbaum, or used to be with the owner who saved him a year ago.

Historically, Johnson has tried to keep organizational changes as buttoned up as possible during his ownership of the team, which would jive with Cimini’s read on the matter.  If Woody and Idzik have yet to reach the same conclusion, Johnson isn’t looking to undercut anyone before the appropriate time, regardless of how it appears to the public.

Agreeing to Rex Ryan as the team’s 2013 head coach was a contingency to taking the GM job with the Jets in 2013.  Our botching the Tom Gamble story before somewhat redeeming ourselves by getting the Idzik hiring helped prove the truth of that matter to us.  No offense, but unlike David Caldwell no one was exactly beating down John Idzik’s door to get him at the time.  To get the job, John Idzik might have had to agree to working with Rex Ryan for the 2013 season, but all bets might have been off after that.

As one anonymous NFL agent told ESPN NY earlier this year regarding Jets GM John Idzik, “don’t mistake kindess for weakness.”

NFL: New York Jets-Training Camp




58 comments
psi1
psi1

Hey Brian...kudos to you and your journalistic humility by including the failed Tom Gamble scoop within the context of this story. This is one of the reasons why this site is so respected by the fans. Everyone makes mistakes, but few are willing to own it...especially long after the fact. Good for you.

Bigfoo7
Bigfoo7

Is it really out of the question to think that the team, led by the head coach, would look to the KS their fans after the last home game win or loose? To label this a victory lap is the first step off the cliff into the chasm of negative speculation that we have come to expect from the beat. Rex has been a large force in improve the image and character of this team and a lot of people don't like it. To think that his job should be in jeopardy after this season is ignorant. Look around at the other teams in the league. Tell me who you see as Hc? Rex has not worn out his welcome as a Jet and he won't until he fails with a legit offensive skill level. Holmes was our star offensive playmaker this year. Need I say more.

downfield
downfield

I like Rex and think that he should be back. Not out of "fairness" to him but I believe with him coaching defense is at least 5.5-6 wins. The team having a quality offense should be worth 4-6 wins?


I wanna pick you guys' brain about this though: When does the sort of mass conversation about firing Rex begin? After the team fails to reach the playoffs when he has that quality offense? If he has it next year and fails do we then say well they were too young or it was players X or Y's first year in the system give Rex another shot. I just get a vibe that the org should be willing to outrun the sky for Rex. So if Rex gets his offense is it SB or bust? Does a one and done keep him? When does the larger suggestion of a new voice start to come from you guys? Let me hear your thoughts, thanks.

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

someone i know who went to the game yesterday said they saw idzick and rex gave eachother a hug on the sidelines before the game

Vinny Cammarato
Vinny Cammarato

With a year left why not just give him his last year. If you get rid of Rex does the OC go as well ? And if your going to  keep the OC, who better to motivate the team and run a great d then Rex ?

Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

You know, it's nice that just about everyone in the football universe seems to be behind Rex.  From the posters here, to the hosts and callers on WFAN or where ever I look or listen, it's pretty hard to find someone who thinks he should be fired.  I've thought since the day Idzik was hired that Rex would likely be gone after this year since I understand a new GM will want his own guy.  But at the same time, if Idzik does still want to replace Rex I think he'll be one of the few people in the world who thinks it's a good idea.


Gotta go win convincingly in Miami next week.  Make it as difficult as possible to fire Rex.

a57se
a57se

Seattle is built on power running and good defense. Russell Wilson throws the ball less then anyone except Colin Kaepernick. He actually threw the ball less then Geno this season 384 to 416 in attempts.

Seattle does not have a HIGH-FLYING offense and can be shut down like Arizona showed yesterday by loading up the box and playing man coverage on the outside. Corral Wilson on dropbacks and don't let him escape the pocket.

Their brand of Football is actually quite similar to Rex' 2009 ground and pound squad where Sanchez attempted 364 passes in 15 games.

Rex has finally figured out that that isn't good enough but Idzik wants to bring in a Joe Bevel type as a potential replacement? The architect of Seatlles' ground and pound?

Sounds silly to me unless Idzik just doesn't like the way Rex deals with the media.....THAT I could see as being his biggest issue with Rex, NOT his Football philosophy or acumen.

Marvel
Marvel

Rex could probably get a couple nice head coaching gigs elsewhere. Wouldn't sweat if I was him. Or he could probably settle for highest paid DC in the game Honestly.(I feel he already is highest paid DC )


We really need to nail the draft, Honestly that's the most important thing for us this off season, including coaching & qb decision. 


1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

Brian, great job on this story...but I'd really like to know if you think Idzik has someone in his "back-pocket" to replace Rex.....or is he willing to "can" Rex and hope for the best. If, it's "hope for the best " , then that seems to lack a lot of foresight when you have a coach with the resume that Rex has. Record, playoff wins, his players support,etc. We would  not be  the only team that would be looking for a new HC; we would have competition. If Idzik makes the change because it's not his guy, that is a poor reason to make a change.

CBusMetsFan
CBusMetsFan

I am an out of town Jets fan in Ohio so I have not seen many televised games this year.  At the end of the game, CBS showed Idzik on the sideline shaking some players' hands.  Is he normally down there at the end of the game?  If so, nothing abnormal I guess.  But if not, you would think if had already told Rex he is done that he would not be anywhere near the sideline at the end of a game.

Brendan
Brendan

@ww85 I don't know if it's fair to just assume Idzik wants to replace Rex. Rex could have certainly won Idzik over, I don't think Idzik would close off any possible outcomes before the season played out. 

kevino
kevino

@ww85 It's been my sense that Woody doesn't like getting rid of coaches who have more than one year left on their contracts. Remember the Schotty fiasco a few years back? I think Woody made Idzik keep Rex for a year because he didn't want to have to have to pay him for doing nothing for a couple of years. I think this time, Woody will leave it up to Idzik, which doesn't bode well for Rex, imo...

Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

@a57se And I don't even think Rex is bad with the media at all.  And it seems to me that Woody can't be unhappy with it either or Rex would have been gone last year.  If that's going to be Idzik's argument for firing Rex that's pretty good news to me.


My biggest hope is that Woody didn't promise Idzik when he was hired that he was free to replace Rex after this year.  If Idzik really does have to "sell" Woody on replacing him I think there's a much better chance Rex survives.  It's also a good reason to go out and win the last game.  Idzik and his people may already know what they want to do (I'd be surprised if they don't).  But if Woody is going to have a say then he may be more influenced by how the team finishes.

djf1
djf1

@a57se making a HC decision based on how he deals with the media would be idiotic.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57seI'm hoping that Idzik likes Rex more than the pundits think.  Camp this year with Rex, MM, Lee & Co., was anything but the circus that occurred with Hard Knocks or Tebow.  Idzik seems like a buttoned-down business guy to me and the Jets' camp should have shown him that the more talent you give Rex, the more he can get out of it.  So, I'm pinning my hopes on first impressions and Idzik had to be impressed by Cortland this year.  I know I was.

a57se
a57se

@Marvel 

I could see Rex replacing the Schwartz in Detroit if he is canned.....with that defensive line talent, Rex would have a field day AND they have an offense.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@MarvelI want Rex back.  He hand-picked the defense and its chock full of young studs and/or young guys with promise, like Milliner and Allen.  I don't see how the defense doesn't regress with Rex gone.  Plus, whether MM goes or not, the Jets should stay in the WCO because a 4th offensive system in 4 years would just be stupid.  I agree the off-season is huge, but just look at Detroit if you want to see an abundantly talented team that underachieved because of poor coaching.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@CBusMetsFanRex and the front office have made thanking the fans a huge part of the game day experience.  Rex has the team come in on school buses to greet fans at 10:30 am, Woody often greets fans at tailgates and it was the last game of the season, which is fan appreciation day, with tons of giveaways.  I don't think what Rex or Idzik did was unusual from a team perspective and I think Myers is an a-hole for making a big deal about a nice gesture to the fans, who were really great all season...loud and loyal.  So, I wouldn't read anything into what Rex or Idzik did.

karlhungus
karlhungus

@jake100 Im just curious has to how he bought this on himself? The offense was from hunger, they went out and got a real OC, and the offense, despite a severe lack of playmakers, injuries, and a rookie QB, has gotten at least a little better and shown some signs of life....meanwhile, despite getting rid of their best cover CB, and rookie qb mistakes that have really hampered them, their defense is showing signs of being one of the premiere units in football....


The team has played hard for him all year, the players love him, the coaching staff as a whole is doing a pretty good job of developing what they have been given to work with......exactly how is this his fault?


90% of the people on this board had us pegged for 4-6 wins this year... 99% of the media was calling us the worst team in football at the start of the season......


They can fire him for any reasons they choose to, but he has done a very good job as a head coach..... and he wont be out of work very long if the jets make the mistake of letting him go IMO



1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@jake100 You DO realize that with a new HC and new coordinators their is no guarantee we will be even as good as we were this year. Just because Idzik makes a change it doesn't follow that we will make the playoffs next season. The NFL landscape is littered with new HCs who made things worse. What I am not seeing are real possibilities as a new HC who will definitely make things better. I need to see names of people before I will say that, ...yeah, he is better then Rex. And, I also go back to the 4 OCs in 4 years....that is not a recipe for success....especially with a QB who is learning.

psi1
psi1

Great post. Rex is obviously a very talented defensive coach who could be a good HC someday if he has a very good QB. That being said, Idzik deserves the opportunity to make it his choice. It is not fair to hire a man to run an organization and then tie his hands with the most important hire within his org structure. If he makes the wrong decision, he'll ultimately pay the price...and quick in NYC (except if you work for the Mets).

ww85
ww85

I hope you are right Brendan. I do get the sense that Idzik has"his guys" from Seattle. I actually think Idzik, Rex & MM could be a phenomenal team if they ever get the QB right. They each have their strengths.

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

not sure he left that part out  

a57se
a57se

@djf1@a57se 

Well image is just as important as results to some folks...not me, mind you.

Leon Hess was one of those types of owners.

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99@a57se  

I don't think Idzik would have been hired if his 'vision' for the Jets was radically different then what Rex wanted, therefore I don't think that would be a reason for firing him. His job performance this season should not be an issue either unless Idzik holds the Sanchez decision over his head.....that was a spur of the moment move by Rex which ended up backfiring. The only other thing is his interaction with the media as the face of this team and for a "buttoned-down business guy", that could be off-putting.

Marvel
Marvel

@SackDance99

 

 Offensive system really depends on which way we go with the qb position. If we go with Geno then I agree, keep the system.

 As for Rex. I don't see the defense regressing with a new coach, we are above average at stopping the run, we often bend but dont break yada yada yada, I just cant picture guys forgetting how to play if we switch coaches.


no matter what we do, this off-season is gonna be under a microscope.


BenNevis
BenNevis

@SackDance99 & @Brendan—

I agree: f Gary Myers. f all the media idiots.

Bring back Rex.

Brendan
Brendan

@SackDance99 I should have guessed it was that froggy looking little scumbag. 

psi1
psi1

I am aware of that Brendan...I was referring to 2014 and beyond.

Brendan
Brendan

@psi1 Idzik took the job knowing full well that Rex would be the coach in 2013, there's nothing unfair about that. It would only be unfair if they hired him under false pretenses and then forced Rex on him after the fact. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan@ww85 

Guilt by association. Media does this kind of crap all the time. they're usually so far off base it is silly but they figure every once in a while they'll get lucky and hit it early. Nobody except for ardent fans really remember their screw ups.

ww85
ww85

@Brendan We don't know what Woody told. JI. But I bet it was to give Rex a year & then JI could make the decision. Based on 1 year, I think Rex has done a phenomenal job with the pieces he had. 

Brendan
Brendan

@ww85 I know people keep making that "everyone wants their own guy" point, but Idzik took this job knowing this wasn't a typical "clean house" situation. The ownership is fond of the head coach, so I don't know if those same rules apply. 


Marty was the perfect fit for Rex, someone he could delegate the offense to without much oversight and still know he is going to be getting a professional effort from his OC. 

ww85
ww85

@Brendan  Well, that's the way it always works, right? You bring the people you know & groomed. I also think any new GM would want to mark the team with his own HC. But if Idzik is the smart Ivy league math major he once was, he should be able to see the synergies with the 3 of them together. Rex always needed a strong GM & a strong offense guy. He finally has both.

Brendan
Brendan

@ww85 Honestly? I don't know why people just assume Idzik has "his guys." I haven't read anything that said he hand-picked Bevell to be the OC in Seattle or anything like that. He's familiar with him, sure, but now he's familiar with Rex. 


I agree that those three could be a the team that pushes this team where it needs to go, I really hope Idzik keeps the coaching staff intact (at the top, at least). 

a57se
a57se

@joemustgo

That is a very good point! If Idzik was intending on bringing in his own guy this year, it really wouldn't make much sense to draft a QB without that guys' input. Maybe there were some behind the scenes phone calls?

a57se
a57se

@psi1 

Emery is a bit of an odd bird in Chicago so him letting lovie smith go is sort of an outlier.

psi1
psi1

As has been written, there is enough material on either side of this divide. Unusual for a possible dismissal. Perhaps Lovie Smith in Chicago was the closest example. Negatives against Rex: no back to back wins in 2 years; blind loyalty to some players; mercurial and over emotional - which does not breed the type of stability needed for sustained winning. Positives: consistently good defense; player loyalty; good coaching staff generally; learning from most mistakes; finally a decent OC.

a57se
a57se

@Joe/Orlando 

Well you basically ruled out every other reason just like I did. The Media reason would be the strongest argument he could make, IMHO.

He could argue that Rex' boasting in the media after the New Orleans Game lead to the Jets not taking Buffalo as seriously as they should have after the bye. He could argue Rex fosters an environment where his players take their cues from him and so you get comments like Winslow beatching about playing time or Tone calling out the Panthers secondary. these things could be argued to be detrimental to the focus and preparation of the team. He could argue that while Rex' emotionalism may make the players really like him it also leads to bad decisions in pressure filled situations (Sanchez, Reed and cover 0 blitzes without the personnel to support it) and makes for too many distractions with the things that go on with the media. Players having to constantly answer questions about their coach and his comments and antics.

These are the areas he'd have to emphasize and try and sway Woody with while assuring him the X's and O's wouldn't suffer in the process.....


Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

@a57se @Joe/Orlando Honestly, I don't know.  Like you kind of touched on, he would be hard pressed to go on performance this year.  If I had to try and make a case for firing him I guess maybe coaching mistakes like poor challenge decisions and time management but even that stuff hasn't been bad, particularly lately, so that's weak.  It's hard because I think Rex has overachieved with this group and he's definitely not holding the team back.  So personally I don't really believe there's a case to be made to fire him...other than Idzik wanting "his guy".  That's why my biggest concern is that Idzik was promised autonomy to choose his coach when he was hired.


I guess we'll find out soon.