The beginning of what's expected to be an offseason full of changes commenced this morning when Jets owner Woody Johnson said general manager Mike Tannenbaum will not return to the team for 2013.
Tannenbaum was hired by the organization in 1997 and served the role of GM for the last seven years.
The news was sad for many players on the roster as they cleaned out their lockers, got their end-of-season physicals and said their goodbyes to teammates.
"It's tough," DT Mike DeVito said, "because I feel like Mike took a chance on me to come here. He gave me my first shot in the NFL and that's allowed me to provide for my family and to have a great life and be very blessed. It's always tough to see something like that."
"The man has been here for 16 years," C Nick Mangold said. "He put his heart and soul into this job."
"It is really sad," Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis said. "You do not want to see anybody get fired or any players getting released in this manner but it happened. He had a great speech that he wrote in the team meeting. Guys clapped for him afterwards and felt sorry for him."
While the Jets will immediately begin their search for a new GM, they won't be looking for a replacement head coach. Johnson said in his statement that Ryan will "remain the head coach of our football team. I believe that he has the passion, the talent and the drive to successfully lead our team."
"I think Rex is a great coach," DeVito said. "He's a guy that has that intangible quality that people want to rally behind him. He's a great leader and he's a guy that you love and a guy you want to go out there and play for. That's what you need in a head coach."
In four years with the Jets, Ryan has a 38-32 record, including six playoff games in 2009 and '10, two of them AFC Championship Game appearances.
"He's my head coach," QB Mark Sanchez said. "We've had a lot of wins together and I know there's plenty more to come."
The Green & White concluded their 2012 season Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, finishing with a 6-10 record. The squad had high expectations after failing to reach the playoffs in 2011. However, turnovers and lack of execution seemed to be the two elements that lingered throughout.
"When you look back at it," Mangold said, "our execution has really hurt the things we want to do. If we were able to do that better, we wouldn't be in this position and we'd be talking about other things. I think a lot of it falls on the players to make sure that we're doing our jobs properly."
It didn't help matters that Revis and standout WR Santonio Holmes suffered season-ending injuries in Week 3 and 4. Tight end Dustin Keller also missed eight games with hamstring and ankle injuries.
"I feel like if everybody was healthy this year," TE Jeff Cumberland said, "the season would have turned out completely different. But in this league, it's a 100 percent injury rate, so things happen."
What RB Joe McKnight believes was most upsetting about the season was the Jets' inability to ever create consistency.
"This year we just didn't put it together every week," McKnight said. "We won one game and then we lost one. Just never got a chance to put it together."
On a positive note, the Jets defense once again ended the year ranked in the NFL's top 10 as they finished eighth, allowing 323.4 yards per game.
Moving forward, it appears the offense will be significantly restructured. Unlike the defense, the unit finished 30th in the total offense and scored 10 points or fewer in seven games.
"It's hard to place my finger on what the problem was," LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "I think if we knew what the problem was we would have addressed it."
Nobody anticipated a 6-10 season back at training camp in Cortland. It happened and can't be erased. Yet the unity the 2012 group displayed was something that shouldn't go unnoticed.
"The season didn't go how we wanted it to go at all," Cumberland said, "but guys stuck together. They didn't fall apart."