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Rex Ryan echoes John Idzik, says QB call will be collaborative -- not his alone

Jets head coach Rex Ryan talks with reporters

Jets head coach Rex Ryan talks with reporters about the first day of training camp. (July 26, 2013) Credit: Hans Pennink

CORTLAND – Rex Ryan fell in line with his general manager Sunday, echoing John Idzik’s stance on “collaborative” Jet decision-making. Even when it comes to who’s under center.

A day after Idzik, the team’s new general manager, said he’ll have a “pretty big role” in deciding whether Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith will start at quarterback this season, Ryan downplayed the importance of head coaches having the final say in roster decisions.

While Ryan may be “the guy” that informs players and the media of roster moves, Ryan said: “At no time is it a one-man show.”

He spent more than half of his 20-minute press conference -- following a rain-suspended practice -- stressing the importance of their group decision-making process, adding that not every NFL coach has the final say on personnel moves.

"What's funny is, I'm the guy that'll sit down with the quarterbacks and, ultimately, that's who's telling the quarterbacks," he said. "They talk to me. I tell you guys (the media) who the quarterback is. But at no time is it a one-man show. It's always a team decision. And that's the way it's always been. Whether it's talking about a player, or talking about the draft.

"John turned the card in for the draft. OK? But there wasn't one coach or one scout that couldn't have turned the card in. That's how much in-tuned the team is, and this organization is. The decision on who to play -- at quarterback, in particular -- that absolutely (will be collaborative). It's always a New York Jet decision. And it's always been that way." 

When Idzik was pressed Saturday about deferring to Ryan in case of a split among the collective, the GM said: “When you look at who's going to play, Rex and I are going to talk about that freely. And I like to believe that that has been the case so far, that if you put in that time and effort, when you make the decision, it's a 'we' decision.

“It's not one individual,” Idzik said.

However, when discussing the QB battle in the past, Ryan has given the impression that the QB call will be his to make. “For me to make the decision to say the competition is over, it’s going to have to be a 100 percent clear to me,” he said on June 5. “And if it’s not, then we’re going to keep competing until whenever.

“It won’t just be my evaluation, but at the end of the day, I guess it will be if there’s a split camp or whatever, then I will make that decision.”

But on Sunday, the Jets coach clarified that his intention was not to make it seem he was free to choose who he wanted. He also blamed the media for making more of the situation.

"I think you guys are making a mountain out of molehill, to be honest with you," he said with a smile, later adding that he and Idzik are "side by side" on decisions. "Ever since I've been here -- this is my fifth year here -- not one decision has ever been made by one man. Not one decision. ...It's always a group effort on what is best for this year. And so, if I misspoke or misled in any way, shape or form, that's it."

However, Ryan said that doesn’t mean his voice carries little weight behind closed doors with Idzik here.

“I know I have complete support from John, from (owner) Woody (Johnson),” he said. “…Don't think for a second that I don't feel 100 percent support from everyone in this organization.” 

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