The Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the Ravens victory on Monday night, leaving little more to focus on with the team in the final two weeks than Rex Ryan’s job security.
Making the playoffs would almost certainly have assured his return in 2014, but things still feel like they could break either way. While the Jets have been more competitive than just about anyone believed heading into the season, Geno Smith’s rocky rookie year hasn’t done much to rehab Ryan’s rep as a coach who can’t develop quarterbacks and the drop from 5-4 to 6-8 featured some ugly blowouts that don’t help his cause.
Ryan also wasn’t hired by General Manager John Idzik, which can be a precarious position for a coach to find himself. None of that has shaken Ryan’s belief that he’s the right man for the job with the Jets.
“I’m a competent guy, even though I know that’ll be questioned a zillion times forward and backward,” Ryan said, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “That’s fine. But I know I’m a good football coach. I believe in this team. I believe in this organization. And I’m determined to bring a winner to this team. There’s no question about it. And I believe that I’m the right guy for it. I’m not the guy making that decision. If I was, it would be easy. I think that this team is on the right path. It might not be reflected in our record right now. I understand that. But I believe this team is going in the right direction.”
Based on both words — guard Willie Colon said Ryan’s departure would be a step backward for the organization — and the way the Jets have played for much of this season, Ryan hasn’t lost the locker room. If those players can finish with wins against Cleveland and Miami, it would be a point in Ryan’s favor when the final decision is getting made.