Ryan cleans out office, awaits his fate
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The end appears near. And Rex Ryan knows it.
Although no organizational moves have been announced, the Jets’ coach began clearing things from his office prior to Saturday’s team flight to South Florida, sources confirmed to Newsday. And the outcome of their season finale with the Dolphins will likely change little about Ryan’s future with the franchise.
It doesn’t matter if the Jets, now 5 1/2-point underdogs, are able to upset their AFC East rivals at Sun Life Stadium. The expectation has always been that owner Woody Johnson will part ways with his coach of six years. And there’s little Ryan or his players can do to alter that plan.
Johnson already has lined up former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly to assist him in the event that he fires Ryan and/or second-year general manager John Idzik. Casserly, in turn, reached out to former Packers general manager Ron Wolf about assisting him with the potential candidate searches.
Any changes within the Jets’ front office likely won’t be announced by the team until Monday, but indications are that the organization already has begun making inquiries about potential general managers and head coaches.
It’s worth noting that any research or vetting of prospective candidates by Casserly isn’t being done on behalf of the Jets — yet.
Nevertheless, Ryan’s players assumed a major shakeup was inevitable.
“It’s expected,” defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. “Our record says it, so it’s expected. Just got to prepare for the worst.”
During the past few months, several players have gone to bat for Ryan, who, despite his shortcomings as a game manager and situational play-caller, is beloved and respected by his team. Ryan, however, has maintained that today’s game won’t be emotional — even if it is his last as the Jets’ coach.
“Do the very best job you can do,” he said. “That is what you sign up for and that is what you do. I am myself every single day. I’m just as steady as they come. You expect your players to wipe out the outside things, to play with those blinders on. That is the way I have been.
“All of the other outside stuff has not been a distraction to me. It is just focus on the job at hand, and that is what I do.”
Despite the cloud of uncertainty surrounding Ryan’s head-coaching future, a game still must be played. The playoffs are out of reach for both the Jets and Dolphins (8-7), but the game holds special significance for Geno Smith, who grew up in Miramar, Florida, not far from Sun Life Stadium.
Smith said this past week, “Obviously, I’m a part of the reason why we’re in this position. So I’d love to be a part of the solution.”
And Smith and his teammates insisted they’ll play hard one last time — for themselves and for Ryan.
“I love him. I loved him before I got here and I’m that much more in love with him now that I’m here,” said receiver Percy Harvin, who was traded from Seattle to the Jets in mid-October. “I don’t think anybody in this locker room has anything negative to say about Coach. That’s why you see guys still playing hard these last few games, still giving their all for Coach. He’s a players’ coach and definitely a guy you want to play for.”