At the beginning of the season, we joked that Jets coach Rex Ryan could go 8-8, win Coach of the Year and still get fired because he's not general manager John Idzik's "guy." And while New York has been eliminated from the playoffs, they could finish with that 8-8 record with wins over Cleveland and Miami.
It's been a remarkable few months, frankly, given that the Jets' offense lacks playmakers at wide receiver, tight end or running back, and starts a rookie quarterback who, predictably, is going through rookie grown pains.
But through it all, the Jets have remained competitive, including wins over the Patriots and Saints. But will that be enough to save Ryan's job? He thinks so.
“I know I'm a good football coach," Ryan said Monday. "I believe in this team, I believe in this organization. I'm determined to bring a winner to this team, there's no question about it. I know and I believe I'm the right guy for it. Again, I'm not the guy making that decision. If I was, it'd be easy.”
Guard Willie Colon thinks getting Ryan would be a mistake.
“I don't want Rex to leave,” he said, according to the New York Post's Manish Mehta, “If he doesn't come back, it would be a step back for us as a team.”
Ryan has done an impressive coaching job this season, maybe one of his best. Unfortunately, it may have little bearing on his future in New York. Owner Woody Johnson stipulated last offseason that whomever was hired as the new general manager couldn't fire Ryan in 2013. And now, with two weeks left in the season, it's reasonable to assume that Idzik will want to rebuild the team with the players he drafted and the coaches he hired.
If that's how things shake out, we don't expect Ryan to be out of work long. With the possibility of five or six teams looking for new head coaches this offseason, Ryan would be one of the top names in a slim pool of candidates.