Jets, New Coach Ryan Need to Make Decision on Favre
To hear Rex Ryan speak at his introductory press conference, the new head coach of the New York Jets said many things that sounded right and probably made Jets fans watching at home stand up and pump their fist.
To jovially making an obscure guarantee that the team will win the Super Bowl within the next four (or eight) years, that they will play aggressive and physical in all three phases, and giving an early 'two-for-one' warning.
The former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator opened his statement with, "First off, with all the cameras I was looking for our new president back there," referring to the previous day's inauguration of Barack Obama. "I think we'll get to meet him in the next couple of years anyway." Ryan speaks from personal experience on this, as he was on the staff of the Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV and had the honor of visiting the White House.
That line elicited a mild round of applause and anyone in attendance, watching or listening could see that Ryan is going to the stark opposite of his predecessor. Eric Mangini was a stoic and private individual that ran the team as if it were the days of the Cold War and the media was a group of Soviet spies. Ryan spoke very firm and even threw in a few quick jokes. But do not mistake that as him being an easy coach.
Quite the contrary, he is going to be a tough but fair guy to work for and said that the team's preparation will be evident during that first practice session. He further stated that the Jets will have an "all weather offense" that will rely on a strong running game, especially during the cold winter months.
"The only way I know how to handle a challenge is to hit the thing head on, and that's what we're going to do," said Ryan. "The message to the rest of the league is, 'Hey, the Jets are coming and we're going to give you everything we've got, and that's going to be, I think, more than you can handle,' We're going to find out."
Another thing that everyone needs to find out is the status of Brett Favre. The future Hall of Fame quarterback finished last season on a steep decline with nine interceptions and only two touchdown passes in the team's last five games, in which they went 1-4 and finished out of the playoffs. He also has an injury to deal with and the tear in his biceps may require surgery. For a player that has been retiring for years now, the answer may not be forthcoming right away.
The man who may or may not be his new head coach didn't have an answer, either. "My point right now is that anybody would want Brett Favre to be their quarterback," Ryan said. "Not just me, but anybody. We'll see. All the particulars and all that kind of stuff, we'll get into later.
"Quite honestly, I'm probably not prepared to answer that," he continued. "I haven't talked to Brett or anything yet. We'll see how he's feeling."
One of the main reasons why Ryan was hired was because of his openness to Favre coming back. That has to be the obvious considering that Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have publicly stated that they want the soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback in a Jet uniform in 2009. If Ryan had told them in his five-hour interview that he feels that Favre is finished and would go in a different direction if he landed the job, he still would be in Baltimore.
Tannenbaum has stated that Favre is supposed to give the team an answer - or something close to it, in the world of Brett Favre's annual undecidiness - by the end of February so the organization can plan for the Scouting Combine, NFL Draft and free agency period.
This is something that Ryan needs to keep a close eye on. It is beyond ridiculous that the Tannenbaum is giving Favre so much time and is not even putting his foot down for a definite answer by a certain date. In the meantime, how does Ryan begin preparing for the upcoming season? He doesn't even know who his field general is going to be and may be stuck with a washed-up former gunslinger that led the NFL in interceptions.