New York Jets General Manager Search: Is Rex Ryan Out of the Woods?

Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Maybe it's just me, but something doesn't quite add up about Rex Ryan's current status. Woody Johnson released a statement yesterday indicating the head coach will return for a fifth season, but there have been some odd things happening since. Rex has not been made available to the media yet. In addition, coaches like Tony Sparano and Matt Cavanaugh, assumed to be out the door, have not been fired. The Jets have made no announcements about changes to the coaching staff. The team fired Mike Tannenbaum yesterday. If it was a day to clean house, why would there be no changes to the staff? You'd think Rex would have the authority to make changes.

I see a handful of possibilities.

1. No changes were made because the new general manager will have the option to make a change at the top. Woody Johnson might make it clear to candidates, "I like Rex and would like to see him around, but you need to decide whether he's the best guy for you to work with."

2. The Jets are going to make changes soon and for some reason didn't want to announce staff changes on the first day.

3. Rex has not finished evaluating his staff.

4. The new GM will enter into a situation where he will have say over the assistant coaches, and Rex will have say over personnel, a situation where the chain of command is unclear and responsibilities are jumbled.

5. Rex genuinely believes Sparano, Cavanaugh, and company are good at their jobs and wants to keep them around.

6. This is being done for the purposes of interviewing general manager candidates. Woody Johnson is asking potential candidates whether they think keeping Sparano is a good idea and automatically eliminating anybody who answers yes from consideration.

Given the way the Jets have functioned in the past, I sadly cannot rule out any of these possibilities. Given Woody Johnson's actions over the past day, though, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope it is number one. His statement might suggest otherwise, but plenty of coaches have been given the vote of confidence and fired soon after. A better statement would have said something like, "Everybody in this organization is being evaluated from top to bottom, and those evaluations are ongoing." A head coach and general manager need to be on the same page. I'd like Rex to get more time, but I also want the general manager to be behind him. Many candidates will have no interest in their job if people are forced on them. We can hope the lack of news from Florham Park is an indication the new guy will have autonomy.

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