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When Rex & Co. gladhanded die-hard fans who stayed to the end of the Jets 24-13 win over the Browns, a simple act of gratitude by Jets coaches and players became the lede around the football watching world.

What does this mean?  Was it some sort of dire portent?  What can we draw from this atypical behavior from a head coach and his team after a December NFL game?

Unfortunately, this will be the biggest football story remaining for both New York teams over the next week until it is resolved one way or another.  Reporters and columnists will be crawling all over the team to get the scoop first.  Those who relish barking that the Jets are a circus act could become one of the rings under the big top themselves this week.

Unsurprising that the Daily News' Gary Meyers could find an unseemly meaning.

... after the game, Ryan and the players did a victory lap around MetLife, high-fiving fans. A victory lap for a team that is 7-8? That’s a little strange. But it was the Jets’ last home game of the season and maybe it was just Ryan’s way of saying a fond farewell to Jets Nation. Typical Ryan. Always with the drama.
Ugh.  Who else on the beat would make the knee-jerk assumption that a simple moment of fan appreciation should be interpreted as a self-aggrandizing moment at best, or taking innocent Jets fans as human-shields at worst?

Typical Meyers.  Always with misanthropy.

In my humble opinion, the best columnists are the ones who will own their instincts while appraising the situation as simply as possible without ascribing any sort of agenda or cheap shot ... like say Newday's Bob Glauber.

My gut feeling is that a change will be made, that Idzik -- even though he no doubt is impressed by the way Ryan has squeezed seven wins out of a team that few expected to win more than three or four -- will turn the page and hire his own guy.


Only Johnson and Idzik know for sure, and they're not saying.

Ryan has made his case about as well as you could ask for a coach with a rebuilding team and a rookie quarterback.

He hopes it's enough to give him another shot at more victory laps around MetLife Stadium. But he knows that decision no longer is in his control.

It seems to be the safe money to bet that Ryan will be gone.  While everyone seems to be focusing on the impending dismissal of Ryan, Jason from (who doesn't think Rex will return) offers some solutions for the Jets if they do keep Ryan around for 2014.
If Idzik has decided to stick with Rex than he has to be committed to building a throwback style team. While on its face that may seem counter productive, the fact is with 32 teams built to stop great QB’s they will have a hard time adjusting to that one weird team that does not conform to the norm. That is a big reason for the success of the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and even 2012. They presented a physical matchup that teams were not ready for.

... you can't dabble in double talk about building that way and [then] have Rex talking about pistols and option games. You have to commit to building a physical team that is going to have a brand of football that fits Ryan's style. Unless you luck into Russell Wilson (and that team was built in that 49ers mold) Ryan will never field a good offense. Give him an Alex Smith type QB, invest heavily in the line, and find bigger sure handed possession WRs and maybe he can do what he needs to get the team somewhere. But the Geno, S. Hill, S. Holmes, Winters, Colon, etc…team is not going to get the job done.

Will Idzik be willing to make those moves?  Will he even want to?  He comes from a tough-nosed football family and to Ryan's credit, both the Bucs and Seahawks built themselves in that model.  So it might not be that far from Idzik's comfort zone.

With a bargain basement spree of talent this year by the Jets when it came to offense, any move the Jets make this offseason could realistically be argued as an upgrade.  With upwards of $48 million burning a hole in their pocket and a complement of draft picks, it's a fact that there is going to be a sea-change of talent coming to the Jets in 2014.  Does Idzik want to use that boost to ensconce himself rather than his holdover coach?

Rich Cimini writes for ESPN NY that there seems to be some organizational uncertainty at the decision-maker level on how to proceed.  

Updated link  with his better insight from Monday morning from Cimini.  Cap tip to commenter WW85.

I'm told that Johnson would like to keep Ryan, but that general manager John Idzik is undecided, which I assume means he's looking to make a change.  This creates a fascinating dynamic. Obviously, it's Johnson's team, so he can do what he pleases, but he hired Idzik a year ago to run the football operation. It's possible that Johnson will defer to Idzik, but Johnson has been known to take charge in these situations. After the 2008 season, Johnson wanted to fire Eric Mangini, so he overstepped then-GM Mike Tannenbaum (a close friend of Mangini) and made the decision to sack him.
If there's anything I've gathered from the year analyzing John Idzik from afar, it is that he is nothing if not decisive.  His decisions might take time to play out (see the drawn out Revis trade or cutting Tim Tebow) but it's hard to imagine that anything that might take place in the final two weeks of the 2013 season would sway Idzik.  More than likley the Jets GM is carefully collecting evidence to take to his boss to state his case next Sunday night to get what he wants -- knowing that he might be fighting a uphill battle.  

Translation: any indecision on Idzik's part might be disingenuous as he gets the prosecution's case ready for trial.

Woody might see the impending talent coming in 2014 and know that would be a boon to the team's playoff chances and thus Rex Ryan.  For those reasons, maybe Woody is still unconvinced on Ryan's dismissal.

Of course, Woody could quash any speculation about Rex's future by endorsing his coach outright, but he's not done that.  The New York Post's Steve Serby points out the the silence of the team's general manager and owner speaks volumes on the state of affairs.

If ever there was the chance for owner Woody Johnson to stop Ryan from twisting in the wind, it was here and now, after Smith brought the Jets back from a 10-point deficit, after Ryan led his players on a victory lap to thank the fans after Jets 24, Browns 13.

“I’m not going to say anything about coaches or players,” Johnson said.

Asked about a Fox report Ryan had told the players Saturday night “word on the street” was blaring he was a goner, Johnson said: “We’re going to answer all those questions after the season.”

That hardly sounds like a man inclined to save from Idzik’s scythe the coach he once so revered.

For Ryan, the silence must be deafening, his relationship with Idzik not nearly as chummy as it was with Mike Tannenbaum, or used to be with the owner who saved him a year ago.

Historically, Johnson has tried to keep organizational changes as buttoned up as possible during his ownership of the team, which would jive with Cimini's read on the matter.  If Woody and Idzik have yet to reach the same conclusion, Johnson isn't looking to undercut anyone before the appropriate time, regardless of how it appears to the public.

Agreeing to Rex Ryan as the team's 2013 head coach was a contingency to taking the GM job with the Jets in 2013.  Our botching the Tom Gamble story before somewhat redeeming ourselves by getting the Idzik hiring helped prove the truth of that matter to us.  No offense, but unlike David Caldwell no one was exactly beating down John Idzik's door to get him at the time.  To get the job, John Idzik might have had to agree to working with Rex Ryan for the 2013 season, but all bets might have been off after that.

As one anonymous NFL agent told ESPN NY earlier this year regarding Jets GM John Idzik, "don't mistake kindess for weakness."

Tags: NYJets , Brian Bassett
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