Ryan's effect more important than wins

I hate to say Vince Lombardi was misguided, but winning isn't the only thing.

If wins and losses were all that mattered, then the we would compare this year's New York Jets to last year's version and see the same team. After all, they both went 9-7.

Does that mean Rex Ryan didn't make an impact?

NFC West blogger Mike Sando recently took a look at the NFL's 10 first-year head coaches and noted their win differentials from 2008.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell won 14 games. Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley won four games. Each total was a plus-2 over the previous season.

Ryan didn't have a plus-minus, but I think we know the Jets are trending up compared to how they looked a year ago under Eric Mangini.

Even if the Jets hadn't made the playoffs, clues are all over the place. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer recently turned down an interview for the Buffalo Bills' head-coaching vacancy because he enjoys working with Ryan and can afford to be selective. Schottenheimer couldn't wait to escape the Jets in previous seasons.

Jets kicker Jay Feely visited "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" and spoke of Ryan's impact on the team.

"No. 1, he's honest," Feely said. "Any employee wants honesty from their boss, whether it's positive or negative. Whether it's what you want to hear or not, you can bank on what he says to you. And he's not going to tell you something and then go do something differently or say something differently publicly.

"The criticism of Rex is very unjust because he just is honest with you. He's going to tell you what he thinks. He's going to tell you what he feels. He doesn't care what anybody else outside the building thinks.

"And the other thing he does, he just makes it a fun atmosphere. When you come to work, you enjoy coming to work because he'll do practical jokes in the meeting room. He'll be self-deprecating. He's always got a great attitude and he has a standard that he's set of getting after it and working hard but having fun when you're doing it."