For more news and notes from Jason La Canfora, tune into The NFL Today Sunday at noon ET on CBS.
While ownership will mull their options following the culmination of the regular season this weekend, Rex Ryan and Jason Garrett, two of the more embattled coaches this season, both stand a good shot of retaining their jobs, according to sources close to those situations. Ryan entered the season with the Jets already under review by new general manager John Idzik, and Garrett’s tenure in Dallas has been called into question with another late-season collapse, but at this point both could end up back where they are in 2014.
Idzik has considered other options for a head coach, according to sources who have been in contact with him, and has compiled a list of possible candidates (Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Seattle offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell among them). If left entirely to his own devises, these sources believe Idzik would move on from Ryan. However, the Jets could finish .500, and second in their division, with a win at Miami Sunday and the team has far outperformed expectations. Ryan has support from players, fans and media, which isn’t lost on owner Woody Johnson.
Johnson, always looking at the marketing and branding side of things, realizes the identity that Ryan provides for the team, and thought enough of him to mandate he stick around for 2013 while conducting a GM search last offseason. If he fires Ryan, he loses one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, and someone who continued to develop talent on that side of the ball, while keeping the Jets competitive despite a lack of any skill players at all on the offensive side of the ball.
Finding a better alternative to Ryan, who could be the only head coach fired this offseason to find work in 2014 as a head coach in the NFL again, and one who could be sold to Johnson as such may not be easy. Ryan has been to two AFC title games in New York and, in his own way, increased the relevance of the team on a national scale, which is again, not lost on ownership. Ryan has one year left on his deal, and while playing out a lame-duck scenario would not be ideal, it is a potential option.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is very comfortable with his relationship with Garrett, and his ability to run many aspects of the team without significant pushback from the head coach. Jones would like to see this arrangement work and the loss of starting quarterback Tony Romo for their NFC East defining game with Philadelphia Sunday night, if anything, probably works in Garrett’s favor, source said. Jones has continued to come out publicly in support of Garrett, and while Jones has gone back on his word in the past, sources said it is not lost on Jones how many highly-qualified coaches would not have interest in the job given the fact that Jones runs the team’s personnel, and in some cases, fills out the coaching staff as well.