EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – On the heels of a feel-good, 20-7, win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik ended weeks of speculation by announcing that Rex Ryan will return as head coach next season.
“After five years of looking at Rex, it’s pretty obvious he’s a good coach,” Johnson told SNY after the game. “This is the start of something really big for the New York Jets.”
Idzik also broke his radio silence after the game, acknowledging that Ryan will return next season, although he would not comment on Ryan’s contract, which runs out at the end of 2014.
“It was a great feeling that we had. It started from day one with me,” said Idzik. “The feeling we had inside was that this was a pretty good pairing.”
The Jets aren’t playoff bound, finishing off at 8-8, but won back-to-back games for the first time all season, and relished the role of spoiler, knocking the Dolphins out of the postseason race.
In a season marked with struggles, the rookie class shined on the final day for the Jets, with Geno Smith, Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner all turning in great performances.
Smith played his second straight turnover-free game, passing for 190 yards and rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown. Milliner intercepted Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill twice, his second straight game with a pick, and Richardson scored his second touchdown of the season.
“We knew we were a better team than showed up against Miami [the last time], certainly,” Ryan said. “That was the main driving force of it, to show where we’re at.”
Ryan said he found about the Jets decision to bring him back before the start of the game, during warm-ups.
“I love being the head football coach of the New York Jets, plain and simple,” he said. “I didn’t want to go out this way.”
The announcement about Ryan’s future coupled with the win over Miami ends the season a high note, but there are still many questions for the team moving forward.
The biggest of which will be, can the team be good enough to make the playoffs next year? That answer is pretty clear, according to Richardson.
“Next year, baby, we’ll be in the playoffs.”