Ryan was considered to be on the hot seat this season, but it would have been completely unfair to fire him. He was dealing with a second-round rookie at quarterback who turned the ball over way too much and has plenty of kinks to work out, the offensive line was a mess, and the skill position players were pathetic. The fact that Ryan turned this team into a .500 ball club is highly impressive.
Defense, of course, is Ryan's strength, and the Jets' 11th ranked unit this year was the worst of Ryan's five years as the head coach - I'm saying that as a good thing. He has a great track record of developing young defensive players, such as his great defensive line of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison. Even rookie cornerback Dee Milliner - who struggled badly early in the year - started playing very well in the final month of the season.
If the Jets can get some consistent quarterback play and a few difference-making skill position players on offense, they could be a playoff-caliber football team. Owner Woody Johnson did not express a ton of confidence in Ryan, keeping him under contract for just two more years, but that makes sense having not made the playoffs in any of the past three seasons. The extension will also give Ryan two more years with rookie general manager John Idzik.
Look for the Jets to continue their dominant defensive ways - particularly against the run - in 2014, and for the team to add offensive pieces in the draft to help make life easier for Geno Smith.