The press had their first opportunity to question New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan today about the status of the team. In what turned out to be quite the uncomfortable Q & A with the media Johnson/Ryan tried, often unsuccessfully, to clarify where the team has been and where they are going. Below are some of the questions fielded by Johnson and Ryan (Editors note: questions are paraphrased):
Q: Will the new general manager having full autonomy and is one of the conditions of hiring a new GM is to accept Ryan as the head coach?
Johnson: “It was, I believe in Rex, I’ve always been with head coaches I’m part of that search and so the relationship between the head coach and the owner is critical. The relationship with the head coach and the GM is also critical that is why Rex is part of this and he’ll get to know the general manager as soon as we (follow-up question: is Rex part of the process?) Rex will be part of the process (selecting a new GM). ”
Q: Why did you choose to keep Ryan and fire Tannenbaum given that precedent shows often the coach goes with the GM?
Johnson: “I never looked at it (a precedent) that way, I’m looking at what is best for the New York Jets going forward and so I made the decision on that basis.”
Q: What is Tim Tebow future with the team?
Ryan: “It’s way too early to say what any of our player’s future is. We need to get an offensive system in place then we’ll make those determinations. Tim is under contract right now with our football team and that’s something I know.”
Johnson: “We’re not going to make any player decisions particularly on offense until we have a coordinator in and we analyze the whole roster and see what is this, (follow-up question: statement you made Tim was going to be here three years, you open to him not being here three years?), No, I mean I think we’ll make those determinations once the new offensive coordinator is here. We can plan the whole offensive strategy.”
Q: Johnson was asked several times about Ryan being a “lame duck” coach given the fact that he only has two year left on his contract with a new GM coming in and is there a playoff mandate?
Johnson: “There is no mandate, no I don’t think I’ve created that perception (lame duck) at all. The first day in the press release … expressing my confidence in Rex. The only way you’re going to get better is admitting what you haven’t done so far if you just kind of gloss over it you’re not going to get better. One of the things that impresses me about Rex as a leader is that, he knows where he wants to improve and he’s committed to do that and I trust him. I’ve seen him lead this team … to a very high level.”
Q: Why have you not been able to imprint in four years what you want the team to be on offense?
Ryan: “I have failed in that area for whatever reason it is hard to see that but I think it is clear where that’s where I’ve come up short. When I talk about an all weather offense I want to be able to run the football in terrible weather, want to be able to throw it and all that type of stuff but when I mentioned the ground and pound I think that carried over for years and years. That was more based on what was best for our team and the best way for our team to win at the time.”
Q: How do you plan to change since you didn’t do it over the last four years?
Ryan: “This is what the New York Jets fans signed up for and what Mr. Johnson signed up for when he hired me. This has to get done, it’s not a question of will it get done, it has to get done. I’ve failed to this point but I have confidence in myself and in this organization that we will succeed.”
Q: Will you go along with not having Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback if the new coordinator does not want him even though Sanchez has a high salary?
Ryan: “Whoever the offensive coordinator is, his system all those types of things there will be a lot of things that go into it but money, the financial part of it, will not have any of the considerations for it. We’ll play the player that fits what we do best, what we believe gives us the best chance.”
Johnson: “I concur that’s a determination to be made in the future but it doesn’t have anything to do with what we have done retrospectively or whatever we are looking for the best player at the start of the season start of the preseason (follow-up question: starting quarterback position is a wide-open competition?) I think every year there is competition among players.”
Ryan: “That’s exactly right understanding that there are things we need to do at first we have to get an offensive coordinator in place then we’ll address it from there.”
Q: When you hired Tony Sparano you said that he was a mirror image of yourself so was the hiring a miscalculation?
Ryan: “I don’t think I miscalculated, I spoke of running the football and those types of things I think we’re really basing our personnel a lot of that. Our personnel are probably going to change … that attack and unpredictability that we have on defense I think we need to have this throughout our football team.
“Maybe I misjudged the thing about I just want to just ground and pound that type of mentality. Maybe I bought into that more then I should have, maybe I needed to be more open-minded and look at things different.”