It is easy to fall into a trap believing the last season's results are the only important factor in the decision whether to retain a coach or a player. This is only part of the equation. Other factors come into play.
If we are to judge Rex Ryan solely on his work in 2013, there is a decent case to keep him. Objectively the Jets are one of the least talented teams in the league. Despite Rex's flaws and some uneven stretches, the fact this team has hovered around .500 indicates a pretty solid job. If I had to make a decision today, I would lean on the side of keeping Rex.
There are other factors to consider, however, namely John Idzik's plan for the Jets. Idzik was not able to choose his own coach. One of the conditions of him getting the general manager job in January was Rex Ryan had to coach this team in 2013.
Almost every front office guy in the NFL dreams of becoming a general manager one day. They inevitably think about how they would build a team, and if they are lucky enough to land one of those coveted jobs, they enter with a plan and a vision on how they will build the team.
One of the most important parts of the job is building a team of subordinates who are on the same page with this vision so the organization functions cohesively, and the plan is implemented. Idzik needs to be able to hire the people he feels will best be able to carry out his vision.
He has now had a year to evaluate how well he works with Rex Ryan. He also has been able to observe Rex's history along with his strengths and weaknesses. Many feel Rex has done a solid job this season as a coach, and I agree. This decision isn't only about the past, however. It is about the future. If Idzik feels Rex is not the partner who can best stay on the same page and build the kind of team he wants, he really has to make a change.
Mind you I am not calling for Rex to be fired. Perhaps after working with Rex for a year, Idzik feels Rex is indeed the best partner for him. I probably would keep Rex if it was my decision. If Rex is dismissed a week from today, however, I will understand for many reasons. The biggest is this job is Idzik's chance to build an NFL team. Another might not come. He deserves to build it in his vision, starting with the head coach he will trust to implement that vision.