Ryan was painted as the owner’s pet two weeks ago at the previous one-week-after-the-fact news conference. In the season-ending presser, Johnson acted like 6-10 never happened. He professed his faith in Ryan, even saying the embattled coach (so we thought) would participate in the GM selection process. Johnson was sharply criticized for what was depicted as a Rex crush.
Behind the scenes, Johnson has been giving off a different vibe. While he admires Ryan’s innate leadership skills and his ability to relate to players, Johnson isn’t blind to the other stuff, according to people familiar with his thinking. As one person said, “He’s tired of the circus.”
When Ted Sundquist interviewed for the Jets’ general manager position he got a different impression of Ryan from Johnson than he thought he would.
Former Denver Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, who interviewed for the vacancy two weeks ago, was struck by Johnson’s candid, evenhanded assessment of Ryan in their meeting. He expected something of a rah-rah evaluation, considering the tenor of the season-ending news conference, but it didn’t come off that way.
Sundquist, sharing details of the interview because he wants football fans to understand the dynamics of the process, said he actually posed the question to Johnson: Why is Rex your guy?
“He wasn’t as — look, I know how that press conference came out,” Sundquist told ESPNNewYork.com, referring to the Woody-Rex lovefest. “I’m not sure if that was accurate. I think Mr. Johnson realizes there are weaknesses and deficiencies there.
“He was adamant about how the players love Rex, their connection with him,” Sundquist continued. “But then he was like, ‘That said … ‘ — and he listed X, Y and Z, the things Rex needs to improve upon.”
If Johnson isn’t crazy about Ryan, you have to wonder why he’s even keeping him around since the Jets are going to have to blow things up sooner or later with their cap issues.