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Jets appear willing to wait for Raven 'D' coordinator Ryan

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"THE JETS' season collapsed in five weeks. In theory, it could take that long to hire a new coach.

Barring a dramatic turn, the Jets appear willing to play the waiting game, which means they could be targeting Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. He and Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm are the only candidates on the Jets' list still involved in the playoffs, and neither one can be hired until his season is over.

The conference championships are Sunday, and the Super Bowl is Feb. 1.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is available for hire now that the Giants' season is over, but as of last night, there were strong indications that the Jets were in no rush to make that move.

Spagnuolo, Ryan and Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are the leading candidates to replace Eric Mangini, who was fired 15 days ago. If the Jets wanted to hire Spagnuolo or Schottenheimer, there would be nothing to prevent them from making an immediate offer, especially in Schottenheimer's case. He hasn't interviewed for any other head-coaching vacancies and he's under contract to the Jets.

Spagnoulo is scheduled to meet with the Rams on Thursday. The Lions may make a late run at him. Spagnuolo is expected to meet again with the Jets, this time including owner Woody Johnson, who was on vacation when Spagnuolo first interviewed with them on Jan.3.

The Jets appear content to let Spagnuolo meet with the Rams. In the meantime, the Jets will narrow their list and finalize their game plan, according to league sources. If they don't have a coach by the weekend, it's a strong sign that Ryan is the No. 1 choice."

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