Woody Johnson and Rex Ryan fielded questions today from the press today to wrap up the 2012 season. There were a handful of interesting takeaways.
Rex Takes Responsibility for Offense
I thought the biggest news was the candor with which Rex Ryan discussed the offense. He basically admitted he has handled the offense poorly and said he was going to change his approach. Usually you don't see a coach this self-reflective in public. Rex said the ground and pound started because of the personnel they have, and hinted that he stuck with it for too long. He said he wants a more attacking offense. This is easier said than done, but the first step to fixing a problem is admitting one exists. This is something we haven't heard in a long time.
Woody Johnson began the press conference by apologizing for delaying the press conference. He said he needed some time to think things through after a difficult season. That was reasonable. Some of the reporters who complained loudest about the delay in the presser then followed up with generally awful questions. There were some good ones. Bruce Beck of WNBC asked some really good ones, but the majority seemed designed to get a headline.
Rex Ryan indicated Mike Pettine is likely taking his talents elsewhere. He also hinted Pettine's replacement will likely be an internal hire and that the defensive scheme is going to stay what we have seen the last few years.
A Look Into the Organization
The chain of command within the Jets organization has long been something people have pondered. We got a bit more clarity today. Rex Ryan noted the decision to fire Tony Sparano was one he made. Later in the press conference when somebody asked Woody Johnson whether the new general manager would have the final say on personnel matters, he indicated that is the way it has always been and that coaches choose the staff and the general manager chooses the players. I think the days where you can put the blame on the front office for bad hires like Sparano or Ryan for bad player transactions are over.
No Commitment to Sanchez
There was deafening silence from Woody and Rex when it came to Mark Sanchez's status. In the past, these press conferences confirmed Sanchez was the man of the future of this organization. They did not come close to endorsing Sanchez this time, not even guaranteeing Sanchez would be on the roster next year.
Commitment to Rex
Woody confirmed keeping Rex on as a coach is a condition for general manager candidates. This isn't my preferred choice, but I think the Jets can find somebody good who can work with Rex. Woody also said he hasn't gotten any negative feedback about it.
We made it forty minutes without a tattoo question, but then one came. Rex handled it well talking about his love for his wife and how he's had it for years. Then he cracked a joke about changing the number on the jersey if Sanchez doesn't play better. I'm sure this won't satisfy the people who think a tattoo is indicative of one's coaching ability, but little probably will.
A press conference like this is largely not meaningful. It's easy to talk about fixing the problems. It's difficult to fix them. I come away satisfied, though. At least this year, it seems like the people in charge are willing to admit there are problems and have identified the real ones. It's a stark contrast to the denial press conference Rex and Mike Tannenbaum had a year ago where they told us all was well, and it was as simple as adding gym rats.