There are a lot of questions surrounding the Jets, and one of them is whether Woody Johnson has it in him to clean house and start fresh. Woody wouldn't confirm that the ax was going to fall, but he certainly wasn't offering any job security to his Head Coach or General Manager:
I'm in the business - I got to win games," Johnson told the Daily News at the NFL meetings. "I'm a fan, I represent the fans. We're both frustrated by this. Ultimately, I am going to have to look for something that I believe is going to right the ship, whether it's the current way, the way we are doing it now with the people we have now or going down a different pathway. I'm looking at everything. I'm analyzing what's happened and why it's happened."
I actually believe Woody when he says he's as frustrated as anyone and that at heart he is a fan. He's the owner and it's his charge to ensure a winning product is on the field, however many thought Rex deserved another year after he coached up a poor roster to an 8-8 record, and I saw very few calls for Idzik to be chopped after last season, with many people buying into his sustained success plan.
I will openly criticize Woody is he doesn't make sweeping changes but I'm not ready to do that yet. How he reacts aftter this season will speak volumes, because regardless of what he says, the current set-up is just not working. The head coach and general manager is a start, but it needs to go deeper, down into the scouting level and front office personnel.
We all know that Woody Johnson is a fan of Rex Ryan, that's been clear throughout his time in New York. He was asked if it would be tough to sack a man that he happens to be fond of:
"It's not a question of fondness," Johnson said. "I've always thought he's a very good coach. He's an excellent coach, excellent teacher. The fans are going to want to see something different. They're not going to let us get along and I don't want to do exactly the same thing. So it's going to be either the way we coach or the way we approach it. It could be with the same people. It might be with different people. That's the case each and every year."
I do have a slight problem with this statement, it's not a case of the fans not letting the team get along, it should be a case of him not wanting the team to get along when they're on course for one of their worst seasons in franchise history. He's absolutely right that we are going to want to see a change, because what we're doing right now isn't working, there is a reason this team is 2-11. I'm not buying into this "we've been unlucky" talk that we've been hearing from within the franchise, or "We can't believe we're 2-11", when you come into the season with question marks across your roster, with little depth, that's what's going to happen.
Rex Ryan once said the quickest way to get beat in this league is to have problems at two positions, the Quarterback position and the Cornerback position. These happen to be two of the weakest areas on the team and we did nothing to address this in the off-season, apart from signing an ageing veteran in Michael Vick. For that reason alone, I can't see how anyone can say they are surprised by us being 2-11, the head coach highlighted it before he even arrived in New York and the league has continue to evolve into a passing league over the last 5 years, making this comment more valid now than when it was quoted several years ago.
So who was surprised? Apparently Woody was:
Oh my God," he said. "I would never have imagined. I thought we were going to be actually very good. That's how much I know."
It's hard to lose. This is the hardest year I've had in terms of losses," he said. "You live and die with it. It's been extremely painful. For me, I go out and see fans every week. I know they are loyal Jets fans. But it's hard every week to be disappointed with the thing you love, which is your team, is frustrating. They love their team, but they don't like seeing it go through this kind of agony."
We hear you Woody, we're right there, every single week. Sometimes bad seasons happen, we've had our fair share of them but they can be tolerated as long as the changes required are made. So what's going to happen following our game against Miami?
"It's safe to say you got to do things differently that you did to get you to this point," he said. "The thing about football is that after every season, everybody is up for grabs. You take a look at everything. You're trying to get to the Super Bowl. It doesn't sound like I should even be saying that at this point. But that's what my goal is. That's what the fans want. They want to have a clear direction in terms of how they get to where they want to go. I have to give them confidence they are going to have a chance to get where they want to go."
Woody can't say right now that anyone is being fired, that's not how this works. He needs to confirm the evaluation period and he needs to confirm that every avenue will be explored. However he simply won't be able to sell to Jets fans the prospect of beinging either Rex Ryan or John Idzik back, it's near impossible at this point, too much damage has been done.
When asked if he regretted bringing John Idzik, a numbers man instead of a true football man on board as GM. Woody simply replied "No".