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Should Rex Ryan Have a Say in Personnel Matters?


Per Rich Cimini:

The Jets have changed their objective during their two-week search to find a replacement for GM Mike Tannenbaum, who was fired Dec. 31. The initial goal was to hire a GM with a strong scouting background, but Idzik and Khan are experts in salary-cap management and contract negotiations. If the Jets go in that direction, it could mean a greater say in personnel for coach Rex Ryan (emphasis mine).

This brings up an interesting question. Should Rex Ryan have a say in personnel matters? He is, after all, the head coach. As Bill Parcells famously said, "They want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." And yet, many fans of the New York Jets are adamantly opposed to Rex having a say in shopping for the groceries.

Dan Leberfeld has said that Rex is too volatile, too emotional for the cool calculation of scouting personnel. He may be right. Other critics have pointed to FB John Conner, the failed fifth round draft pick that is no longer with the team, as Rex's personal choice.

Here's what we do know. Rex likely had a significant say in the past three first round picks, all defensive players. The first, Kyle Wilson, does not, it seem merit that first round pick. The other two, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, are certainly shaping up as if they do. We also know that Rex was not a fan of Stephen Hill in the second round of this years draft. If Hill's rookie year is any indication (and I don't believe it is) of his career, Rex was correct.

It's hard to say exactly how much power Rex has had in the past, so we don't know who were his personal picks. That's why I am limited in the above mentioned draft picks. I've heard rumors before that Mike Tannenbaum generally drafted square peg players, expecting Rex to put them into round holes, so it's hard to specify Rex's influence. It seems though that Rex gets one "coach's pick" per year, and likely has some influence in the remainder of the picks, albeit limited. I suspect that he had heavy input into the defensive picks, especially the three picks on the defensive line, Wilkerson, Coples, and Kenrick Ellis, which is his specific area of expertise.

I don't think Rex having a say is the worst idea in the world. I don't want him to have the final say, but it's important to remember that Woody Johnson promised in the last press conference that the new GM will have the final say over personnel matters. That's important. Let the new GM get the players, and let Rex coach them up. But that doesn't mean there can't, or shouldn't, be any overlap between the two departments. Rex needs to clearly communicate the players he needs to fit in his scheme, both defensively and what he wants offensively. But let's leave it up to the new GM and his scouting department to find and name those exact players.

I'd also like to thank the illustrious GGN member Dr Football for the idea behind this article.