A Reasonable Solution to the Rex Ryan Situation


Dec 1, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan watches his team warm up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

What’s going to happen with coach Rex Ryan? That has been the question from the moment John Idzik was hired. We all agreed that something is going to happen. Before the season began, we talked about the fact that either Rex will be fired after the season, or Idzik will be all-in with keeping Rex, and he will receive an extension.

We talked about what it would take for Ryan to earn that extension, whether it was a number of wins, a certain development of the team, making the playoffs, or whatever. Everyone had their own idea of what it would take.

Then they drafted Geno Smith. That became an interesting move with a so-called “lame duck” coach. If the coach has to win now to stay employed, how can he roll with a rookie QB? Well, the Mark Sanchez injury happened, and that is what Rex had to do.

There have been highs. Geno Smith has led comeback wins. The Jets have beaten Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Everyone was singing the praises of Rex Ryan. The defense was looking great and everyone was ready to give coach his extension. Then, the Jets lost three in a row to drop the record to 5-7, and virtually removing them from playoff contention. The offense did nothing, the quarterback got worse and worse. The team stayed with Geno Smith despite all of that. The defense gets tired. Everyone then wanted, and wants, Rex Ryan out.

The team has won five games, more than many “experts” thought they would win. They have, however, fallen apart over the last three weeks. Frankly, this doesn’t even resemble the team that was able to beat Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

So, where does that leave us? How should the Jets handle Rex Ryan? What should John Idzik do? Here is a reasonable solution.


Dismissing Rex following the 2013 season is a bad idea. We all have seen the rise and fall of Geno Smith so far in 2013. It has had great highs, and brutal lows. Changing coaches does not, in any way, benefit the development of Geno Smith. In fact, it will do a lot to HINDER his development.

We all know what a coaching change means, it means a system change. Unless a new coach were to retain Marty Mornhinweg and David Lee, which is not likely, everything will change around Geno Smith. He will have to spend the entire off-season learning, again. For him to develop into a franchise quarterback, he does not need a new system. He needs time to develop in THIS system. He needs Rex Ryan and company.

Rex Ryan is not the problem with the offense. He cannot be held accountable for the conservative play calling. Fans, we cannot have it both ways. For 99% of Rex’s tenure, we have talked about how he has been “hands off” with the offense. Everyone has complained that he has had TOO LITTLE to do with the offense. Now that the play calling has gone south, how can we blame Rex? He is hands off with the offense, but a big influence on the play calling? It doesn’t make sense. Marty has to liven up his play calling again.

Finally, we don’t want to hinder the development of the defense. The front seven has the potential to be dominant. Heck, in some ways they already are. Them getting beaten recently is more to do with them being on the field too much. They do not need a change of system either. They need to continue to learn and grow under Rex.

I am not saying that it is time for a long-term extension. Fact is, Rex’s time may be drawing near. But, letting him go now will hinder the development across the roster. Extend him for two years, give him a chance to get Geno Smith and the offense on the right track. The end of 2015, then make your call.

Don’t get rid of him now. It will do more harm than good.