NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Jets’ players seem to have just one wish this holiday season: bring Rexy back!
Rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was the latest in Florham Park to voice his support for head coach Rex Ryan, telling the New York Daily News that he’d have no problem taking his case directly to general manager John Idzik.
“True statement, I would,” Richardson told the paper. “If I felt like that, that his job was in jeopardy, which I don’t feel like it (is). It’s all speculation. But I most definitely would.”
Ryan’s team has exceeded expectations — most experts predicted them to be among the worst of the worst in the NFL — though his job may be in jeopardy after missing the playoffs for a third straight season. The Jets can finish 8-8 at best.
“John’s here every day so it doesn’t go unnoticed how we draw to him to and take to him,” said Richardson.
The defensive-minded Ryan, 40-38 in five seasons as head coach of the Jets, reached the AFC Championship game in his first two seasons. But then came the regression of Mark Sanchez, an 8-8 record in 2011 and the Tim Tebow wildcat experiment of 2012.
Not many expected him to survive last year’s 6-10 debacle. But Ryan received a stay of execution from owner Woody Johnson while the ax fell on general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
Tannenbaum danced around Ryan’s job status during an appearance on WFAN radio Thursday, only saying he valued continuity, which has been hard to come by for a team with three offensive coordinators in three years, two rookie starting quarterbacks in five years (there was also that Tebow thing), and is being steered by a first-year GM.
“I think every player in here cares for him, it’s so much deeper than a player-coach relationship,” wide receiver David Nelson told the Daily News. “It’s not just so much of X’s and O’s and schemes with Rex. It’s about the people, it’s about the relationships. Guys respect that, because in this business that’s hard to come by.”
Ryan has a reputation as a players’ coach, and it’s obvious his players want him back next season. Offensive lineman Willie Colon has said firing Ryan would be a step back for the franchise. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said on WFAN this week: “I love him. I want the guy here.”
The best thing they can do for Ryan? Make a statement in the final two weeks against the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
If Idzik is still undecided, he could always take a vote.
“If he came down here and asked I think every single guy in here would stand up and have Rex’s back,” Nelson said.
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