Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

TD Sports Debate - Do New York Jets fire Rex Ryan? (part one)



The New York Jets are a team rebuilding, but does that mean Rex Ryan’s job is safe? He’s found playoff success and mediocrity in the regular season. His strength is defense, his weaknesses obvious. Do the Jets can Ryan? Dan Salem, a diehard Jets fan, and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on in this week’s sports debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.



Well, the season pretty much ended for the New York Jets when they lost to Buffalo in week eleven. Us fans didn’t realize it yet, but it appears the team was quite aware when they chose not to participate in the games against Baltimore and Miami. Sure, they made a strong showing against an awful Oakland team, but too little too late.

I’m putting it out there, the Jets are my team and I love them, but this season of rebuilding reached its pinnacle against the Saints. I wanted them to surprise the league this season, but they ended up with merely a better defense and the same inept offense as in 2012. Nothing really changed. Different quarterback, different offensive coordinator, better defense, same crappy offense, another lost season. I’m torn up about this, do I blame Rex Ryan? Should he get fired?

The Pros of Rex Ryan:
He is an amazing defensive mind. He continues to find and groom defensive talent. He is extremely interesting as a personality, or at least he was. The quiet Rex didn’t make things better this season, just less interesting.

The Cons of Rex Ryan:
He ignores the offense in the draft and has a poor track record with those he does select. He ignores the offense on Sundays. He pretty much just ignores his offense. Sorry Geno, but I don’t think Rex knows where your locker is just yet.

Todd, I’m not saying you are objective on this topic. Hell, you root for the New York Giants. But as a completely biased Jet fan, I’m at a loss. We can’t win with defense alone and we can’t win consistently with our current crop of offense. I thought we had a good running game, but then we stopped using it. I think Geno Smith has shown enough to give him a full season more to develop, and then we bench him against the Dolphins. He bounced back against Oakland and is progressing, but the team is not.

I hate to say this, but I think we fire Rex Ryan.



So many things to cover here and to gloat about.

Geno had to be benched against Miami. He was missing passes to wide open receivers with no pressure in his face. He was over-matched and out of sorts. Smith’s passing line was as follows: 4 for 10, 29 yards and 1 interception. He had a 1.6 Quarterback Rating. That’s out of 100, not 2. I had to look that up to be sure.

Now his replacement, Matt Simms, was hardly a franchise-saver. (He’s no Sanchize!) Although Simms threw the ball a little better than Geno in the second half, that’s like saying someone has a stronger arm than Chad Pennington. We understand the upgrade, but what does that actually tell us? Simms’ QBR for the Dolphins game? 3.1, which is, apparently, still out of 100.

So Matt Simms is not the answer, but we knew he wasn’t. Benching Smith was just a way for the young man to take time to reevaluate his situation and reestablish himself in the offense for next week. I agree with you that Geno deserves more time to develop and have a shot at the starting job next year. It is too early to say this was it for him.

However, that doesn’t solve the Jets’ offense. It seems as though your confusion in regards to Rex Ryan has only two factors.

1) Is he actually a great defensive coach and, if so, what is that worth?
2) How much should his interesting personality factor into his head coaching stature?

In 2008, the year before Rex Ryan took over, the Jets had an average defense in terms of both yardage and points allowed. The very next season, 2009, with Ryan at the helm, the Jets jumped from 16th in yards given up to 1st and from 18th in points allowed to 1st. Rex Ryan was in charge of the best defense in the NFL and rode it to the AFC Championship game.

The following year, the Jets were almost as good on the defensive side, finishing 3rd and 6th in the two categories. However, their offense also took a step up from below average in yardage and points scored to slightly above average. It was considerable enough to once again push the Jets through to the AFC Championship.

At this point in Ryan’s history, things are looking great. He has proven himself a great defensive mind and someone capable of leading a team. The team got a little lucky making those two championship games, but the defenses have been legit. And this Mark Sanchez guy, I kinda like him! He flat-out wins ballgames!…was the feeling at the time.

The next season, the defense produced a rarely seen break-but-never-bend season. Not to be confused with the much more popular bend-but-don’t-break, the Jets instead gave up a ton of points (20th in the league) but were very stingy in the yardage department (5th). The offense also took a dip, as it would continue to do up through this season. And while the defense continued to be good, they gave up an inordinate amount of points every game, most likely stemming from the terrible situations their offense continued to put them in.

So where does that leave us as far as Ryan’s chops as a defensive coach? There are a number of factors at play here. Yes, the Jets have routinely been one of the better defensive teams in the league under Rex Ryan. That is indisputable. They have also drafted a number of defensive players with their high picks. (Not as many as the assumption goes if you actually go back and look through, but it was still a lot.) So was the success on the field simply a result of taking good defensive players or did Ryan coach them up? This is obviously impossible to answer. There is no way to know who would still have been good under a different coach. So we are forced to give Rex the benefit of the doubt somewhat. He was good for a good defense.

But, (television talking-head guy alert!) IN TODAY’S NFL, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO THROW THE FOOTBALL AND SCORE POINTS TO WIN IN TODAY’S NFL! With offensive domination all the rage, the best defensive team in terms of yardage allowed hasn’t made the Super Bowl since before Rex Ryan even became a head coach. So where is the value in having Ryan as your head man if elite defense isn’t cutting it?

Now as far as his personality goes…gimme a break! It should mean nothing, zero, zilch. If a boring head coach wins, that’s all that matters. You can enjoy the wild antics of your team’s head guy if he’s winning, but as Jets fans have come to realize, if you’re losing, it seems rather obtuse.


Tags: Geno Smith New York Jets Rex Ryan

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