New York Jets’ Coach Rex Ryan: Playoffs or Bust?


Aug 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan smiles on the sidelines during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles won 37-7. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Rex Ryan’s history with the New York Jets has been an interesting one. Rex has ridden the wave of a reverse bell curve. The first two years ended up nearly magical, the next two years were a downward spiral, and last year was a move in the right direction. Ryan was rewarded at the end of 2013 with a short extension, keeping his job intact, but not for the long term. The players rejoiced, as we all saw, and they are ready to do battle for their embattled head coach in 2014.

The former patient owner, Woody Johnson, seems to no longer be patient. He knows that the fan base is getting hungrier for a championship by the minute, and wants the team to win now. Combine that with the fact that general manager John Idzik is still working with an inherited coach, and you have to wonder. Is it playoffs or bust for Rex Ryan? Do the Jets have to make the playoffs to keep their beloved coach in the fold?

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In my opinion, if the Jets miss the playoffs, it should depend on why they did. Remember, Ryan can only coach the players on the field.

John Idzik has made no bones about the fact that the personnel decisions stop with him. Don’t get me wrong, he has brought in some terrific players. I cannot wait to see an offense that features Eric Decker and Chris “CJ2K” Johnson perform in our colors. Jace Amaro should turn into quite the weapon as well, and Michael Vick has become the model veteran backup that Geno Smith has needed.

But, Idzik has left some things to be desired as well. We know the cornerback situation. Whether you feel the situation is dire, or not as bad as others, we call all agree that it is not great. Idzik left some talented players out on the market for other teams to sign, leaving the Jets with some lower tier players to bring in. The fact is, until they do it for real, we don’t know how the defense is going to perform on the back end. They haven’t been great in the preseason, as we have discussed.

If the Jets finish outside the playoffs, and the defensive backfield is the problem, Woody Johnson needs to really think. Rex Ryan can only coach the players that he has. Ryan can get a lot out of them, but with lower level players, it is potentially not good enough to compete. Is that his fault? It doesn’t seem fair if Rex Ryan has to shoulder the blame for cornerbacks that are not up to his standards.

However, if other parts of the team fail to deliver, that is a different story. With all of the additions on offense, for example, if the Jets still can’t score, Woody has to seriously consider dismissing Rex Ryan. Last year he had the alibi of not having the weapons. John Idzik has armed Ryan with weapons, now they have to perform. Otherwise Idzik should bring in his own coach, as unfortunate as I will find it personally.

Is it playoffs or bust for Rex Ryan? It depends.