Jets

Schwartz: Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan Was Set Up To Fail In 2013

If Woody Johnson Forces John Idzik To Keep Ryan, It’s Bad Business
Rex Ryan (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Rex Ryan (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns

I feel bad for Rex Ryan.

That’s because I’ve been in his shoes. It’s not easy to work for a boss that didn’t hire you. I went through that year ago at a radio station that I used to work at. Ryan is going through it now with the Jets.

I can feel his pain!

It’s not easy to work under those conditions. In fact, it’s downright uncomfortable. It’s especially tough if you’re expendable. The pressure is unbearable. You just know the end is coming.

When Jets general manger John Idzik took the job back in January, he was told by owner Woody Johnson that he had to keep Ryan for at least one year. Well that year is coming to an end, and if Idzik has any shred of power, he’ll want to bring in his own guy.

That’s just business.

If Johnson forces Idzik to keep Ryan, it’s bad business. Idzik should be allowed to do what he wants. You have to trust the management that you hired. Unfortunately, I know that from experience. At a previous job, I was hired by one program director and fired by another.

He kept me for a while but the whole situation was not very pleasant.

Ryan has to be feeling the same thing. The feeling is that Ryan has lost a lot of his power within the organization. He was given a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith but Mark Sanchez had apparently won the job in training camp.

But, as we all know, Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a preseason game against the Giants, putting Ryan in a tough spot. He had to go with Smith and an underwhelming group of skill-position players. After a 5-4 start, the Jets have lost three in a row, and if they continue to spiral downward, Ryan could very well be shown the door.

That is if Johnson gives the green light.

Remember what I said about program director No. 4? He kept me around for a while but eventually told me to take a hike. His boss didn’t want me to get fired. He told me that the day I was let go, but that he had to allow management that he hired to make decisions.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I understood.

Ryan will too.

He’ll get another job either as a coach or a broadcaster, but losing your job still hurts. It might have been better for all parties if Idzik was just allowed to bring in his own guy from the start. He would have had his own coach in place as the team went through a transition year.

Instead, Ryan had the label of lame-duck coach right from the get-go.

Sometimes I wish my boss had cut ties earlier, as it was easy to see where things were going. It might sound like sour grapes, but I didn’t think I was put in a situation to do my job as well as I could have. In fact, it was my belief that, for over a year, my boss was trying to get me to quit and avoid paying my severance.

I wasn’t about to quit, and neither is Ryan — nor should he.

I think Ryan was set up to fail this year, and that’s too bad. He’s a good man and a good coach, but he’s heading toward a third straight non-playoff year. Regardless of the circumstances, his recent track record suggests that the Jets are heading toward a coaching change.

Things might have been different for Ryan if Smith had progressed instead of regressed, the offense had some playmakers and the secondary was better. He deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Jets airborne through nine games, but he will ultimately be responsible for the end result.

Ryan will land on his feet. I did the same after I was fired. Things happen for a reason, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s nothing personal — just business!

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