Rex Ryan Says He Returns in 2013, Is He Right?
By Alan Schechter
Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan prior to the game against the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
A lot of times, the media in New York does more harm than good around the New York Jets. They quote anonymous stories, they stir things up, and generally get in the way. But, to their credit, they held coach Ryan’s feet to the fire following the game Thursday night. They asked him the tough questions, including ending the press conference by asking him about next season. They asked him whether or not he thinks he will be back in 2013. As he should, he said yes. What else is he going to say? “Nope, they should fire me.”? I don’t think so. Rex, of course, believes he will be back. The question becomes, is he right?
There are good reasons that he should be back in 2013. First and foremost, Rex Ryan has had success with the New York Jets that, short of Weeb Ewbank, has never been equaled. What Jets coach has taken the Jets to back to back AFC Championship games in their first two seasons as head coach? NOBODY. Bill Parcells was close, taking the Jets from 1-15 to 9-7 in his first year, and then going to the AFC title game in his second, but Parcells had a home game to get to that title game. Rex got this team to back to back title games without earning a home playoff game. The fact remains, no matter what you think of Rex Ryan, or his mouth, you cannot deny his success. He took a team that more often than not was looked at as a joke, coming off of a year that Brett Favre basically took hostage, and brought this team back to the forefront. Rex Ryan arrived, and the Jets earned respect. This, my friends, is fact.
He also deserves at least a bit of a pass for this season. Obviously, the season is not going the way anybody hoped. But, coach Ryan is not entirely responsible for that. Rex Ryan does not make the personnel decisions, he did not design this roster. It was not Rex Ryan’s call to be a “Ground and Pound” team, without a 25 carry per game running back. Does anyone think that Rex Ryan wants to go to battle with 3 running backs? Doubt it. I am also pretty sure that Rex Ryan would not choose to have Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens, Stephen Hill…etc as his depth chart at wide receiver. Yes, his team in Baltimore was not an offensive juggernaut, but the offensive weapons were not a group of practice squad guys either. And I think we can all agree that the Jets defense is a bit slower than he would prefer, agreed? Rex Ryan is getting as much as he can get out of a less than talented team.
But yet, you CAN make the argument that he might be wrong, and lose his job. Turn the page and we’ll look at the other side.
October 21, 2012; Foxboro, MA USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan after after being defeated by the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
Take 2011 for starters. We all remember the things that went on. You had consistent griping going on within the football team, for a good portion of the season. Santonio Holmes and Brandon Moore comes to mind for one. This team had issues with chemistry. They were far from being a united group, and the house of cards came unraveled on a January afternoon in Miami, Florida. The star wide receiver had to be benched, because he was a problem on the field during a game. The problem was when Rex admitted that he didn’t have a feel for what was going on inside the locker room. That is his job, ladies and gentlemen. Whether or not he is close to his players, which he says he is by the way, his task is to know what is going on in that locker room. He didn’t. Big problem. He vowed that it would get better in 2012, and I think we were all willing to give him another chance.
But a second failure might not give him an opportunity for a third chance.
2012 has been an interesting season to say the least. There have been some excellent performances, such as in Buffalo, in St. Louis, and against the Rams. But, there have been some pathetic performances, like in Seattle, against the Dolphins, and most recently against the Patriots. What’s even more telling, and troubling, is the fact that the team has been accused of quitting, by opposing players. Not once, twice! Rex Ryan talks up and down about how opponents are going to “get the Jets best shot”. When more than one team accuses us of quitting, there is fire to that smoke. Quitting is evidence that Rex is losing this team again.
That is why the last five games could determine Rex’s 2013 fate. We are 4-7, essentially playing out the string, barring a minor miracle. Do the Jets quit, or do they finish the season strong? The Jets could play well, and finish the season 7-9, maybe 8-8. If that happens, Rex Ryan could, and probably should, be back in 2013. Whether it’s with Mike Tannenbaum or not, he should get another shot with an improved roster. But, what if it goes the other way? Maybe the Jets go in the tank, and finish 5-11, maybe even 4-12. Then what? That certainly would tell us, clear as day, that Rex’s team is not playing hard for him anymore. If this team quits on Rex, and a record like that would be evidence of that, you could justify going another way with the head coach.
Rex may be right in his assertion that he will be back in 2013. The last five games will go a long way in determining whether he is or he isn’t.