NFL Great Says It's Not About Coaching; It's About Trusting Ryan To Build The Roster

NEW YORK (WFAN) — As far as Joe Klecko is concerned, it’s not really about whether Rex Ryan deserves to come back next season. It’s more a matter of the Jets deciding if they want to start operating like a 21st century NFL team.

Klecko knows a thing or two about this league. For 11 season he was a model of consistency and excellence on the Jets’ defensive line. These days he’s a postgame analyst for SNY, and uses his unique vantage point to break down what this team is and, more importantly, what it can be.

Klecko appeared on WFAN with Jody McDonald on Thursday and was asked point blank if he thinks Ryan should return next season as Jets head coach.

His answer was — it’s complicated. Klecko said on one hand it’s not in Rex’s best interest to return for the final year of his contract as a lame duck head coach. On the other, if he does return it could be a matter of how much control he’s willing to cede that determines if he gets an extension.

“The biggest question mark of it is — there’s no doubt Woody Johnson likes Rex Ryan. He with all the gold makes all the rules. Whether John Idzik wants it or not, it all depends on how much Woody really wants to listen to what John has to say,” Klecko said. “I don’t know if Rex will want to stay there if John has all the say in the personnel that’s brought in.”

The Jets need massive upgrades on the offensive side of the football. Klecko said just how amenable Idzik is to the idea of Rex having say on players likely will tell the tale. Klecko added it’s really not about Ryan’s coaching ability. He said that most agree Ryan can flat-out coach. It’s just a matter of chefs and stocking the cupboard.

“The offense now needs so many things to be replaced. In Santonio Holmes and in Mark Sanchez, the money they will release in the cap line for the New York Jets, they can basically replace them with either two very good ‘B’ players and an ‘A’ player, or three ‘B’ players or maybe four ‘B’ players, there will be enough money in free agency to get — if it’s Geno Smith to be the quarterback — to get him that talent,” Klecko said.

“Now, are you going to rely on Rex Ryan being involved in (getting) that talent? Bill Belichick didn’t stay because he wasn’t going to be involved in any of the decisions, with Bill Parcells still being head of football operations. Will Rex Ryan want that? If Rex Ryan stays, is that something John Idzik will want? There are a lot of questions,” Klecko added.

As for whether Rex deserves to return, which has been the driving rationale for his supporters as this debate has raged on, Klecko said he does deserve to return, but it’s not this no-brainer decision that a lot of people think it is.

“In the beginning of this year Rex played himself into a situation where, yes, he deserved another chance. At the end of the year, though, he didn’t make any moves or do anything worthwhile to show that he deserved to (come back),” Klecko said. “So it’s like a 50-50 shot. I think what it is is basically if Woody Johnson likes him that much to stand up for him to John Idzik or is John Idzik going to stand on a limb and ‘I got a guy waiting in the wings who I know can do this and we will not have these problems.’”

Klecko said one thing working against Rex is he’s just not an offensive mind.

“The other side of it is Rex is a defensive-minded coach. This league is not a defensive-minded league. It’s an offense-driven league. The Jets have lagged in that department, so I think that’s maybe one way they may want to go,” Klecko said.

Klecko said Sunday’s regular season finale at Miami will have no bearing on Johnson’s decision. Whether Rex returns or not likely has already been decided and is hinged on just how much the Jets trust Ryan to help put together the roster for next season.

“Is Rex deserving of a chance to be back, yes. Maybe 60-40 he deserves to come back. I think it will all hedge on how much the owner likes him,” Klecko said.

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