Reports have come out Saturday that Jets long time head coach Rex Ryan has cleaned out his office in the expectation that he will be fired following the season finale Sunday against the Dolphins. That puts him among the top candidates to land another head coaching job in the league.
The flamboyant head coach has been the face of the New York Jets since 2009. Six years is a long time to remain a head coach at any job without having won a Super Bowl or at least been to one. Ryan took the Jets to the Conference Championship his first two seasons with the team but hasn't had a winning season in four seasons since.
The defensive minded head coach has had great defenses during his time in New York. His defenses have ranked in the top ten in yards given up five of six of years and was 11th in the other year. It's in his blood to be all about the defense. His father was legendary defensive coach, Buddy Ryan.
Speaking of Ryan bloodlines, his brother Rob was the Raiders' defensive coordinator for five seasons from 2004-08. Since then he has had stints as the D coordinator with the Browns, Cowboys, and currently the Saints.
Prior to taking over the head coaching job for the Jets, Rex had been with the Baltimore Ravens for many years during their heyday of fantastic defenses. He was the defensive line coach from 1999-2004 and took over as defensive coordinator from 2005-08. Only once in his ten years in Baltimore was their defense ranked lower than 6th in yards given up. And in his second season as defensive coordinator, they were the number one ranked defense in the league both in yards and points given up.
Those who still believe Rex is a good coach, point to the lack of quality at the quarterback position. He had Mark Sanchez the two seasons he lost in the conference championship. The team moved on from Sanchez when they drafted Geno Smith two seasons ago and he has been a disaster.
In Oakland, Ryan would have a couple of young linebackers to build around in Sio Moore and Khalil Mack along with some potential in young corners D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie.
Ryan is known for being an outspoken head coach who is well-liked by his players. To others outside the organization he can often come off as overconfident brash and overconfident. So, basically if he's your head coach, you like the way he carries himself. If you're not, you may not care for it so much.
He is very much like Jim Harbaugh in that. Both take control of a press conference and revel in the spotlight. Both have had success, but both of their organizations have come to the point where they have seen enough and are ready to move on.
There is a bit of a twist here, in that Tony Sparano was Ryan's offensive coordinator for one season in 2012. He was fired to make way for Marty Mornhinweg. Sparano has another year on his contract so it would be interesting to see if Sparano had any interest in stepping back into his job as assistant head coach and offensive line coach under Ryan. That would depend on how their relationship was in New York and how well it ended.
Ryan would be that big name, big personality head coach who could get the players on this team to buy in based solely on his experience and swagger. Not to say that would result in bringing the team back to relevance, but it could be enough to get him the job.