"Rex likes the owner," the person said. "He was impressed that the owner flew down to meet with him. The Jets were very serious. I can tell you that Rex is leaning toward the Jets and the Jets are leaning toward Rex. In fact, the Jets told Rex that they're prepared to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire him if they have to."
That would seem to make Ryan the favorite to wind up with the head coaching job, except for one nagging little thing. While Ryan is off coaching the Ravens, Brian Schottenheimer is sitting close to G.M. Mike Tannenbaum. Their relationship is the only reason why Schottenheimer is involved in the coaching search, and is certainly the reason why Schottenheimer is the guy that other interviewees have to beat out to win the job.
Every time Ryan's Ravens force a turnover or rattle a quarterback's bones, his stock rises. But can his stock rise high enough to overcome the Schottenheimer-Tannenbaum bond?
When your owner is as PR conscious as Woody Johnson, it could. If Ryan comes to New York on the heels of a Super Bowl title, he'll instantly become the man in the Jets franchise. Ryan will be a media darling and a fan favorite, two things that Tannenbaum isn't on the heels of the team's collapse this season. All of that equals a dangerous game for a sitting G.M. who'd like to stay in power.
That's why no interview will be good enough to knock Schottenheimer off his perch just yet, because he's already posted his number and sits in the clubhouse with the lead. You've got to beat him and at least one of the guys doing the hiring may have already decided it can't be done.