New York Jets: Mid-Term Coaching Grades
By Alan Schechter
October 21, 2012; Foxboro, MA USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan reacts during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
At the midway point of the year, as we have done all week, it’s time to assess the work done to date. We have evaluated and talked about the players, but it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t discuss the coaching staff. It has been a roller coaster for them as well as the players, so let’s start from the top:
REX RYAN:CHis grade took some thought, because it has been a very up and down year for the Jets head coach. They have had some highs, like the Buffalo game, moments in the first Miami game, and the Indianpolis game. There have been times where the Jets have looked quite good in defeat as well. The team shown a ton of fight in the game against New England, and arguably should have won the football game. They also stayed close in the game against the Houston Texans, a game that nobody felt they would even me in for more than five minutes. Despite losing Santonio Holmes, and Darrelle Revis, this team has shown that they can play well, and show a great deal of fight.
But, this team has also shown that it can be beaten down, and the head coach has to be held partially responsible. There have been two games, where the Jets were beaten down, and they looked like a team that was beaten down. You know them, we are talking about the second Dolphins game, and the 49ers game. In both of those games, they came out flat, and they stayed flat. When they got behind, they didn’t show any fight, instead they rolled over. Opponents in both of those games accused the Jets of quitting. Being accused more than once is not a coincidence. It’s the mark of a team that doesn’t have CONSISTENT fight in it, and that goes against the head coach.
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on the sidelines against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 35-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
TONY SPARANO:DTo his credit, Tony Sparano came to NY with guns blazing. He preached about how he is going to get the Jets back to playing phyisical football. They were going to get back to the philosophy of Rex Ryan’s first years with the Jets, running the football down the throats of the opponent. They were going to play up-tempo football, and keep the offense on its heals. And don’t forget, the creator of the Wildcat was going to create a new version beyond our imaginations.
Where has that been? The offense is slow as molasses. The Wildcat is more of a pet housecat, and the Ground and Pound has been anything but. The playcalling? Let’s just say that he has made Brian Schottenheimer look creative at times. The play calling has been boring, and as creative as a baby’s fingerpainting project. The decent play in a couple of games keeps the grade from being an F. But it still hasn’t been good.
July 29, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine prepares to call a defensive play during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
MIKE PETTINE:DMike also came into the season with big dreams. “One step faster”, was the cry we heard for all of training camp. They drafted Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Josh Bush, and Antonio Allen, with the theory that the defense could become faster. With all of the troubles they have had stopping the run in the past, and rushing the passer, this was just what the Jets defense needed to make a return to prominence.
Where has that been? Nobody has more than 2 sacks on the Jets defense! This is the younger, and one step faster group? I don’t think so. They still have the same problems defending running backs on the edge as well. Until recently, the Jets have lived and died with their older players, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace…etc. They have finally started to work the younger guys, such as Davis, into the rotation, but that has been more due to Bart Scott’s injury than to poor play. Why did it take so long to release that the players on the field are too slow? Ridiculous.
Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff before the game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
MIKE WESTHOFF:B-People might thing that this grade is too high based on recent performance, but I will explain. A lot of the season, the special teams unit has been up to par. Nick Folk has been perfect, and Mike Westhoff has to be given a great deal of credit for that. Why? Bringing in Josh Brown to compete for the job was genius. It caused Nick Folk to realize his job was in jeopardy, and kick better than he has ever kicked before. Genius move by mastermind Westhoff. Giving the punting job to Robert Malone was a great move as well. He has been a lethal weapon at pinning teams inside the 20. It’s tough to find a return game better than the one on the Jets too.
However, it’s the recent breakdowns that bring the grade down. The blocked punt on Sunday was downright ugly. How often to guys come clean on a Jets punter for a block? Wait, never? That’s right. Until now. Same with the return for a TD by the Patriots. The Jets had taken the lead 7-0, and give up that backbreaking return. How often did the Jets special teams allow momentum to switch away from the team? Normally, the Jets special teams brings the momentum TO the team. Some speculated after last week whether or not Mike Westhoff has already mentally retired. I am not willing to go that far, but certainly it brings down his grade for the season to date.
As always, thanks for reading.