At 10 A.M. on Wednesday, Woody Johnson will step up to a microphone and tell you how pleased he is to introduce Rex Ryan as the newest head coach of the New York Jets. About 10 minutes later, Ryan will thank Johnson for the opportunity and say something about how being a NFL coach is his lifelong dream come true. Shortly after that, they'll throw it to the floor for questions and the first person called on will stand up and say:
"Will Brett Favre be your starting quarterback next season?"
Ryan will likely demur, saying that he's got a lot of decisions to make, while Johnson and G.M. Mike Tannenbaum reiterate that they want Favre back next season. The question will get asked in various forms before the press conference ends, and the answers will all tread the same line of saying something without saying anything at all.
That's because the real answer would belie the message they're trying to send with Ryan's introduction. The party line will be a fresh start with a bold, new coach who will energize the franchise. It's nearly impossible to pull that off when your quarterback is a sore armed, once great player who spent December sabotaging your season. But the Jets will sit and wait while Favre makes up his mind.
If Ryan is truly going to steer the team into uncharted waters, he'd sit down today and say that the team doesn't have a starting quarterback. Favre may come back and he may be the starter, but it's a clean slate for everyone on the team. There's not a chance of it happening, but it's the only approach that's actually new.