Posts Tagged ‘Woody Johnson’

Rex Ryan set to return next season as Jets knock off Dolphins in final game

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

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.

Saddled with rock-bottom expectations and the notion that he wouldn't be around much longer, Rex Ryan took the Jets to an 8-8 record in 2013 and will return next season, according to owner Woody Johnson.

“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.”

Rex Ryan of old makes an unexpected appearance

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Rex Ryan has been a shell of his former self as of late, but on Wednesday a glimmer of the old Rex shot through -- if only for a second.

Florham Park, NJ – When Rex Ryan rolled into town four seasons ago, he was gruff and unapologetic. He had Super Bowl aspirations, a highly touted rookie quarterback and a top-notch defense.

But as the bombast grew stale and the playoff returns diminished so did Ryan (literally and figuratively).

The old Rex, presumed dead, is now a person of the past, whittled away by unfulfilled guarantees, questionable coaching calls and an upper management muzzle. The man who stood at the podium on his first day, proclaiming he wasn’t going to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, neutered, offering up only misdirections and disguised coverages.

So, it’s only fitting that on the day Ryan announced the starting of his second rookie quarterback in five seasons, he got back to his roots — if only for a second.

“A lot has been said about this football team,” he said before returning to his now patented coach speak. “There are a lot of non-believers out there.”

In that moment, he sounded confident, and although he wouldn’t say much else, you couldn’t help but sense a “you’ll see, you’ll all see” attitude pushing its way to the surface.

“We’re not hiding,” he said. “We’ll see what kind of team we have.”

Whether or not Ryan has the talent to prove the critics wrong is another story, however.

On Wednesday, the Jets announced that Geno Smith will indeed be the starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite underperforming in his only extended preseason action. Mark Sanchez is still injured after being left in during the fourth quarter of preseason game. He walked into the locker room on Wednesday, only to turn around and not be seen again.

The entire Jets brain trust also made an appearance with both Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik stressing the mantra of “competition.”

“The [quarterback] competition is not finished … The competition is ongoing,” said Johnson, making the cloud of confusion surrounding the team’s most important position all the more murky.

Idzik clarified by saying that the competition at every position is ongoing, which sounds more like an escape plan should things go wrong with Geno than a team-wide motivational tactic.

Still, the team seems to have a chip on it’s shoulder. Even Santonio Holmes, who hasn’t been optimistic about his return to the line-up, broke through his rehearsed routine when asked if the team is being underestimated.

“Right now in the power rankings, we’re ranking No. 32 in the NFL,” he said, referring to ESPN’s weekly rankings. “I think we probably couldn’t be happier than being off the radar of everybody.”

“We have a focus that’s on the team not on what everybody else thinks this team should be. We have a focus and a goal in mind to have the best 53 guys on this roster and go on and win with these guys that we have.”

As Holmes does, Ryan knows now more than ever what the non-believers are saying about his commitment to the team and his coaching ability. And no matter how hard  Idzik, or Ryan himself has tried to suppress it, the old Rex showed up on Wednesday.

As a glimmer of man not ready to go down without a fight.