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Greenberg: The GM and the HC, Logically

Posted Jan 4, 2013

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on newyorkjets.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New York Jets organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Jets officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Jim Fassel, who was named coach of the Giants one year before Ernie Accorsi succeeded George Young as GM, lasted five more seasons after the change. In the NFL, that’s a pretty good run when you are anybody’s guy, let alone were hired as somebody else’s guy. And Tom Coughlin, chosen by John Mara, has coached five years under Jerry Reese, too.

Granted, within two seasons under Accorsi, Fassel had the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, and Coughlin won the Super Bowl the very next year after Reese took over. But in accordance with the Laws of Survivability, what else is new? Ultimately a coach has to win, of course. But his chances of making it through badly needed personnel overhauls improve if the people in charge appreciate him as much as they do stability.

So if Woody Johnson continues to believe enough in Rex Ryan to keep him while dismissing general manager Mike Tannenbaum, why is it presumed that the coach has to make the playoffs next season or will be one-and-done with the new GM?

The Jets were 6-10 this season on merit and have cap issues that couldn’t help but have been a factor in Johnson’s decision. If they don’t improve a dramatic four wins in one season, suddenly he’s going to make it the fault of the coach he just decided was good enough to keep?

Of course, if the only reason Johnson didn’t let Ryan go was because the owner didn’t want to pay him off in addition to Tannenbaum, then keeping the coach was a very bad idea. But Johnson likes Ryan or he wouldn’t have survived. So if the person with the hiring and firing power believes that a holdover and newcomer have to make it work, then they had better make it work if they want to succeed in this job and desire an opportunity for another at the same pay level.

That does not mean Johnson should hire the best guy available who claims in the interview that he has all the respect in the world for Ryan. Woody should hire the best guy available, period. But it does not appear that person will be anyone whose track record has commanded him the right to buy the groceries in addition to cooking them. Otherwise, Ryan already would be gone.

So what GM that Johnson hires is going to have instant cachet? And logically, why would an owner decide the problem is the team, not the coach, then hold that coach’s feet to the fire to make the playoffs the very next season?

Managers should manage and coaches should coach. While of course they have to share a vision, each ultimately should be held accountable for his area of responsibility, which essentially is the statement the Jets’ owner made on Monday

His team had a decent defense in 2012 that has a chance to turn again into a very good one in 2013 with a successful return of Darrelle Revis. That side of the ball will have to continue to be the strength of the team, which means that Ryan, who got his first two Jets teams to AFC title games with Mark Sanchez at quarterback, is the right coach as Johnson looks for the right guy to get the cap situation straightened out so the Jets can get the right quarterback.

If Rex is sincere that he wants to be here, who out there — who is affordable — could better coach the 2013 team? If the Jets are a year away from getting the quarterback they can build around, so be it, but we don’t see the logic in Ryan paying the price for that.

The franchise needs offensive talent, not press conferences on the day of the GM’s firing. Ryan needed a vacation from Mark Sanchez interceptions at the end of a trying season. Don’t you? So let’s not get all hysterical about a few days in the Bahamas for Rex after having his heart ripped out all season. Johnson and Ryan will speak to reporters Tuesday. Perhaps they will have something more meaningful to say than they would have last Monday.

We would like to hear from Woody that Ryan can fix his staff however he wants. After 6-10, there is nothing wrong with letting him coach for his job next season, but he has to be given every opportunity to succeed, no matter how many of his own choices contributed to the fall of the 2012 Jets.

The offense needs an overhaul, but in the meantime, Rex can coach defense, so he can run next year’s team as well as practically any candidate out there. Then after that, we’ll see. If Johnson doesn’t make a good GM hire, the Jets’ next coach already is in as much trouble as this one is assumed to be.

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