Sunday notes: Saving Coach Ryan

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
5:00
AM ET
MIAMI -- Wrapping up another New York Jets season:

1. Stay of Rex-ecution?: Although signs point to Rex Ryan's return, as first reported Saturday by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the team has yet to make anything official. Let me say this: It's the right move. Owner Woody Johnson would be making a mistake if he signs off on Ryan's ouster. Most supporters point to his work this season as the biggest reason to keep him, but let's take a step back and look at the wider view. Consider:

a. He's the second-winningest coach in Jets history, trailing only Bill Parcells in winning percentage -- .604 to .519. That doesn't include Ryan's four playoff victories, a franchise record. An organization that has lost Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick should know better than to turn its back on promising coaches.

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyMany people with ties to the Jets feel that coach Rex Ryan brought much more than just wins to the franchise. He brought a sense of belief.
b. There are no slam-dunk upgrades among the usual suspects/candidates. Darrell Bevell or Dan Quinn or Ken Whisenhunt won't excite the fan base, and GM John Idzik knows it. That's probably one of the reasons why he's interested in retaining Ryan. Despite three straight non-playoff seasons, he's still good box office.

c. Ryan provides endearing intangibles. To explain them, listen to retired Jets guard Brandon Moore, who played under Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini and Ryan.

"He changed the culture in the building," Moore said of Ryan. "Before he got there, they talked about winning championships, but no one believed it. With Rex, you believe it's possible."

Moore also said, "If they fire Rex, they'll never find anyone who wants to win a championship for that organization as much as Rex does. He truly loves the Jets. You can't put a price on that."

Your move, Woody.

2. Making it hard to say goodbye: If something goes haywire and Ryan ends up getting fired, it would be a fascinating news conference, especially if the Jets beat the Miami Dolphins to finish 8-8. What would Idzik give for a reason, that Ryan did a bad job?

3. Cloud of uncertainty: Ryan and his staff have had to work this season under the toughest of circumstances -- little or no job security. At least seven assistants, an unusually high number, are in the final year of their contract. A situation like that can create a huge distraction, but Ryan & Co. have done an admirable job of focusing on the job at hand.

4. Rex vs. Tom: Ryan's record is 41-38. Tom Coughlin's record over the same span is 42-37. I get it, Coughlin won two championships. I'm just throwing the numbers out there.

5. Pace setter: Strong words the other day from LB Calvin Pace, who was asked about the prospect of having to start over with a new coaching staff. "As a player, it's not ideal. ... It's chaos. Because then you're seeing bodies, people getting cut and what-not." Thing is, to an outsider like Idzik, who has his own ideas, that might be appealing.

6. MartyBall: I think OC Marty Mornhinweg has done a credible job this season, considering the paucity of skill-position talent. But doggone it (one of his pet expressions), how can you not notice how well the Philadelphia Eagles are doing without him? His previous team, with pretty much the same skill-position players as last year, is ranked No. 2 in total offense and No. 2 in scoring under first-year coach Chip Kelly. A year ago, it was 15th and 29th, respectively.

7. What a kick: You can bet PK Robbie Gould's four-year, $15 million contract ($9 million guaranteed) with the Chicago Bears opened some eyes in the Nick Folk camp. Folk, due to become an unrestricted free agent, has produced numbers over the past two seasons eerily similar to those of Gould, now the highest-paid kicker in history.

Field goal percentage in 2012 and 2013: Gould 87.0, Folk 86.7.

Percentage in the 40-49 range: Gould 81.3, Folk 81.0.

Percentage in the 50-plus range: Gould 83.3, Folk 85.7.

Interesting, right? If the Jets think they can re-up with Folk for the usual one-year deal, they will lose him.

8. Nnamdi and the Jets: I guess it's a good for the Jets that CB Nnamdi Asomugha turned down their five-year, $50 million offer in 2011. Asomugha, whose career declined steadily from 2011, announced his retirement this week. Even though he spurned them, he made an impact on the Jets -- in a bad way. His $16 million-a-year contract with his first team, the Oakland Raiders, became the negotiating threshold for Darrelle Revis in talks with the Jets -- a price they considered ridiculous and, obviously, never were willing to meet.

9. Speaking of Revis ...: For all the talk about his surgically repaired knee, he ended up having a very good season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He hasn't missed a game and he's the top-rated corner in the league, based on the statistical metrics used by ProFootballFocus.com. On Friday night, he was named to the Pro Bowl. No one on the Jets made the Pro Bowl. That's a hanging curve if you want to take a shot at the Jets.

10. A full Nelson: As Kristian Dyer of Metro New York pointed out, WR David Nelson actually signed a two-year deal when he arrived early in the season. Most in-season acquisitions sign for one year. This was a nice pickup by the Jets. Nelson has played more snaps (508) than any receiver on the team since his Week 5 arrival. He has 31 receptions, third on the team.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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