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Rex Ryan-New York Jets union entering crucial phase

Few coaches are in a tighter spot than Rex Ryan.

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Many of his longtime assistants are gone, the New York Jets' roster lacks talent on both sides of the ball and his best player, cornerback Darrelle Revis, soon might be wearing a different uniform.

Ryan was part of the package when John Idzik took over as general manager. Sticking around for another season might come back to bite Rex, but it isn't likely to hurt Idzik. Not according to what a league source explained to Gary Myers of the New York Daily News on Saturday.

"Rex provides cover for one year," the source said. "It's almost like having a shield. You can do what you need to do, and the guy who is going to get the arrows is Rex. He is an easy target. John can stay behind the scenes like the Wizard of Oz."

Said the source: "The Jets are in a hole and need to get to the ground floor."

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Jets owner Woody Johnson adores his coach, but Ryan widely is viewed as fighting for his job. Still, when Rex spoke with NFL Network's Kimberly Jones last month, he brushed off the notion of a win-or-else campaign.

"There's no way anybody's going to feel bad for me," Ryan told Jones. "And they shouldn't. They absolutely shouldn't."

We don't need anonymous sources to tell us Ryan's in a tough position. But after turning off the masses with his bluster and broken guarantees, the Ryan of today is shaping up as something of an underdog. That's how he started with the Jets, and that's when his Jets were at their most dangerous.

Maybe not such a bad place to be after all.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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