2012 Will Define the Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez Era


Sep 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan throws a football before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

A lot of bad luck has befallen the New York Jets, in just the first quarter of the 2012 season. Losing your best defensive player, and your best offensive player, in consecutive weeks, is tough for any team to overcome. It’s especially hard to overcome when you have the expectations of a Rex Ryan team. Add to that the scrutiny that comes with playing in New York, and it becomes an almost impossible task.

That’s what the Jets are facing, ladies and gentlemen, as they continue the journey Monday night against the Houston Texans. It will be no easy task going up against the 4-0 Texans, who might be the best team in the AFC.

But, the Jets have no time to feel sorry for themselves. No team will feel sorry for them, and they have to move on. Rex Ryan remains supremely confident, as does quarterback Mark Sanchez. One thing that the rest of this season will serve to do, is define the Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez era.

Rex Ryan is the definition of a player’s coach. He is not the disciplinarian that guys like Tom Coughlin, among others, are. We’ve seen it for three plus years, having fun with the players, keeping the atmosphere loose, and with it, players love to play for him. We have seen it work, and we have seen it give Rex some problems. With that, Rex likes to proclaim how great a coach he is. He believes that he is the master motivator, and the top defensive coach.

Confidence is great. We certainly don’t want to go back to the days of timid Jets coaches, like Rich Kotite. Rex Ryan is a confident guy, and he loves coaching the New York Jets. Isn’t it great, to have a guy that wants to be here, rather than a guy that said he wanted to be here and left, like Herman Edwards? But now, that confidence has to be translated onto the field.

Great coaches show their greatness in times of adversity. I hate to give this man credit, but what happened to Bill, up there in New England, when Tom Brady went down? The team went 11-5, that’s what happened. Go back to the Giants in 1990, what happened to them when they lost Phil Simms to a season ending injury? They won the Super Bowl. Those are a couple of examples, but there are many others throughout history. Can Rex get this team to perform beyond what it should, given the losses they have taken? Or will they fold up the tents and go home with a 4-12 season? Time will tell, and it will be the defining moment of the Rex Ryan era.

Sept. 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws to wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Everbody’s favorite whipping boy, Mark Sanchez. There is a lot of blame to go around, all over this offense, as we have seen the last few weeks. But, as the starting quarterback, Mark is going to take a lot of the blame, as he should. Ultimately, the performance of an offense runs through the quarterback.

Mark has had no help as far as the construction of this offense, we discussed that in depth yesterday, and many other times before. The running game is not performing anywhere close to where it needs to. He hasn’t had his favorite receiver, Dustin Keller, in weeks. It has not been easy for Sanchez. But with all that said, Mark still has to improve his performance. His decision making is still wildly head-scratching at times, and his throws are inconsistent. He can make all of the throws, and makes beautiful ones at times, and others don’t even look NFL level. Here is what Mark had to say about his accuracy:

No doubt. Have I missed some throws this year? Absolutely. When I look at the tape there’s a bunch of throws each game, a handful of them that you want back. Those are the ones I can control. The other ones after that, we have to be in the right spot. We have to keep fighting get open at the wide receiver position. (We have to) be sharp with our landmarks. I have to control what I can, and that’s meeting with these guys extra and make sure we’re on the same page so there’s no questions going into the game. They’ll be in the right spot and leave it to me to deliver the ball.

With Tim Tebow lurking in the wings, all eyes will be on Mark Sanchez on Monday night. He is now going to move forward and operate without his number one receiver, and we still don’t know if Dustin Keller is going to be available to play. But it doesn’t matter.

Mark has to take this team over, and elevate his play. They are crying out for leadership, and Mark has to be the guy to give it to them. He needs to step up, be more accurate, and lead this offense to victory. If he can do that, he will silence the critics. If not, things will go South very quickly.

Time will tell, and soon. For Rex, Sanchez, and this era in Jets history.