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Friday, December 27, 2013
Jets players backing coach Rex Ryan

By Jane McManus

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – If Rex Ryan isn’t coaching the Jets this time next week, there will be a lot of disappointed Jets. And not just the grinders who wouldn’t likely last into another administration, but the core guys who could be building blocks for the next incarnation of the team.

“I honestly believe in the direction we’re headed,” Nelson said. “I’ve been around coaching changes before, I know how difficult they can be. Change is never easy especially when you have 60 different personalities. And Rex has connected with these guys on a deeper level than X’s and O’s so I like the direction we’re headed and I believe in Rex Ryan.”

Ryan is a player’s coach. That means he isn’t issuing fines to guys who don’t tie a perfect Windsor knot with their suit, or who are 30 seconds late for a run-of-the-mill occurrence. Of course they’d rather play for him than a buttoned-down replacement that general manager John Idzik might be inclined to choose.

But backup quarterback David Garrard sees more practical reasons to stick with Ryan.

“You’ve got to think the rate of instant success for a first year coach is not very high,” Garrard.

The Jets will have more cap space next year, particularly if they rework or cut certain contracts like WR Santonio Holmes, QB Mark Sanchez or CB Antonio Cromartie. That means new players will likely come in, and that’s a lot of change all at once.

“It’s a matter of finding the right people,” Garrard said. “Pretty much whoever comes in is going to play for Rex that’s just how he is and how he’s loved by the guys in this locker room.”

Ryan has declined to talk about his future during the regular season, but plenty of his players have backed their coach in one form or another as the discussion of his job security gets louder.

“I know how this locker room feels and I know how I feel,” Garrard said, “and I believe everybody in here does love having Rex as head coach.”