Rebuilding is a dirty word in the NFL and with much room for improvement the New York Jets have a coaching conundrum. Barring a trip to the playoffs, Rex Ryan is out. So if the Jets fire Rex, what’s next? Dan Salem, a diehard Jets fan, and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on part two of this week’s sports debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
There are main two factors to determine if Rex Ryan is actually a good/great coach:
1) Is he actually a great defensive coach and, if so, what is that worth to a team?
Yes, we can give him the benefit of the doubt that he is truly a great defensive coach. The problem is, that isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Teams need to be able to score and throw the ball to win today, even in the playoffs, where games supposedly slow down. The Ravens last year are a perfect debunking of that worn-out stereotype. No one slung it around more than Joe Flacco.
2) How much should Rex’s interesting personality factor into his head coaching stature?
It shouldn’t at all. Winning makes someone interesting; case in point: Bill Belichick.
Imagine for a second if the Jets had fallen short of one of those two AFC Championship games or, even worse, if they had fallen short of the playoffs entirely in 2009, when they probably should have. What would the feeling be then about Rex Ryan as a head coach? His personality would be the same; his defensive acumen wouldn’t change. But suddenly he’s not a big winner right out of the gate.
You know what the feeling would be? Neither do I because that man would have been fired already. No one has gotten more carry out of two championship game berths than Rex Ryan. Time to cut the cord.
Being interesting does not trump winning, we agree on that. But if a team is not winning, then I want my team to be interesting. The Tim Tebow ‘experiment’ may have failed on the field, but it was kind of awesome throughout the off-season and even during the season when it was obvious the team stunk. What would have made it perfect was if he actually got the starting job for a few weeks. But whatever… Rex Ryan is fun to root for, fun to watch and great at coaching defense. Those things are a given and he will get another job faster than I can finish this debate. But since we agree he needs to be fired as the Jets’ coach, what next?
Here is how I would like things to play out for my New York Jets. An obvious caveat; I would ideally like to see the team win out, finish 9-7, and grab the final playoff spot from the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. We enter the playoffs with the “Nobody believes in us” tag and ride a wave of victory all the way, dare I say it, to the Super Bowl a la the New York Giants a few years past. Barring that Christmas miracle, here’s what I would like to see play out:
The Jets round off this rebuilding year with an 8-8 record. It’s a marked improvement from last season and a solid year all in all for Geno Smith. He won me over early, stumbled in the middle, and can finish strong. He needs to improve next season, but who doesn’t.
Rex Ryan gets released. They don’t renew his deal. It’s not exactly being fired, but more or less the same thing. Since Mike Shanahan is also getting axed, probably sooner than later, the Jets swoop in and hire Shanahan to coach up another potential star quarterback. He also has an improving running game to work his magic with and a proven defense to inherit. This is plan A.
Plan B doesn’t exist yet, as I don’t know what other coaches are out there besides Gary Kubiak. I would rather keep Rex Ryan than hire Gary. Just saying.
I’ll just go ahead and scoot on by your Christmas miracle scenario there. If the Jets suddenly come into possession of the best two-minute quarterback and the best pass rush in the league, perhaps we can consider it.
As for Ryan’s replacement, you really feel Mike Shanahan is a Plan A at this point? He’s coached the Washington Redskins into the ground this season. Why would his handling of Robert Griffin III give you any confidence that he could help mentor Geno Smith’s future? To me, the Jets should go find a young, offensive-minded coach, kind of like the Eagles and Bears did (young in experience if not in age). They already have a number of defensive building blocks in place; why not focus on the other side of the ball and hire a coach that would develop alongside Geno for the coming years? I think you had the same idea with the Shanahan hire by finding an offensive guy who could help your young quarterback, but I’d be weary of the man.
Let me throw a name out there just for kicks. How about Denver Broncos‘ offensive coordinator Adam Gase? The San Diego Chargers just plucked Denver’s previous OC to be their head man last year, and Mike McCoy is doing pretty well for himself in his first season on the sidelines. I could see a similar scenario occurring with Gase, even if he is inexperienced.
Crossing my fingers.