Stay the Course with Rex Ryan for Now
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
This afternoon I wanted to take another look at the Rex debate, and whether or not he should be back for another year. Earlier this week, the great Sean Lester Durham took an excellent look at the debate (please read it by clicking here). Take a look at it, he does a great job, and makes a great argument for saying goodbye to Rex at the end of the year. To me, however, the Jets should keep Rex around, at least for the year 2013. He deserves another chance.
First of all, look at his past successes. No Jets coach has ever gone to back to back championship games. To me, that buys you a couple of down years. It’s fair to say that a lot of those players were here already, as the Jets had some great drafts right before Rex arrived. But he still had to coach them, and instill a system that fit those players. Rex did that, and the result was getting one step away from the Super Bowl two times in a row. It’s not going to be great every year, and Rex earned some time with back to back title appearances. Yes, the records have gotten worse over the last two years. You can attest a lot of that to the lack of talent he has been given to work with.
Rex Ryan has been handcuffed for the last two seasons, with the lack of talent and lack of depth. Take last year for example. Does anyone think his dream roster had Collin Baxter behind Nick Mangold? I doubt it. We were calling for the Jets to bring in additional offensive linemen last year, ALL YEAR LONG! Did we hear a peep out of Mike T? No. He just stayed the course, leaving Rex with nobody. And Wayne Hunter? Rex would have liked nothing better than to bench that guy. Despite what came out of his mouth, he would have liked nothing better than to save his quarterback by putting him on the bench. But behind Hunter he had…NOTHING! The bench was left barren. None of that was Rex’s fault, and shouldn’t be considered in his job status evaluation.
Sept 23, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) reacts on the sideline in a game against the Miami Dolphins in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
Now take a look at 2011. They lose Darrelle Revis for the year, but to their credit, the Jets had the roster to step up and cover for his absence. But is it the same for the offense? Of course not. Santonio Holmes goes down, and who else to they have? Jeremy Kerley, who has done a good job, no doubt. But the rest? Castoffs and rookies. Stephen Hill, who will be good eventually but needs time, Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens, and the rest of the motley crew. This was the team that was going to take the Jets to the Super Bowl? This backup group could barely make a practice squad! And this is the team that “had enough weapons”? Really Mike T?
Despite that, the Jets have fought their way to a 4-7 record. Doesn’t this feel like a team that, in the past, would have gone 3-13, or worse? Could you imagine if a coach like Rich Kotite was leading this bunch? It would be the laughingstock of the universe. Despite all of that, this group of players has played, at times, quite well. They have gotten what they can out of this group of wide receivers. This defense has stepped up and played better. Rex, to his credit, has gotten a lot out of this group.
This is a coach that, unlike previous coaches for this franchise, actually wants to be here. He isn’t like Herm Edwards, who promised he would be here and then bolted to Kansas City. Rex Ryan has no aspirations to coach anywhere else. He loves being the coach of the New York Jets, and wants to do it for a long time. It’s a good idea to keep a coach like this as long as we can.
Here is my solution. Stay the course with Rex. Give him another year. The first thing that needs to be done is to clean house and start from scratch in the personnel department. Tannenbaum needs to be either demoted, or removed. Whether they can pay Bill Polian enough to bring him back, or bring in another personnel man, bring in someone that can evaluate talent well. They need to bring in someone with a background in talent evaluation, rather than money, to be the general manager. That is the first step.
Secondly, they need to get rid of Tony Sparano. This experiment clearly has not worked, as Mark Sanchez has regressed. They need to bring in someone that can coach a passing game. No, they do not have to be “pass heavy”, but they need a coach that can instill an effective down the field attack. To win in this league, you have to be able to throw the football, and not just “dink and dunk”. You have to be able to attack down the field. Yes, you can be balanced, but you must be able to take shots, and the Jets just can’t do that with this offensive coordinator. Hook Rex up with a modern offensive coordinator and see what happens in 2013.
Again, there are valid arguments each way. You see mine, one more time here is Sean’s. Who do you side with? Feel free to hit us up on Twitter or leave comments below.