New York Jets: 5 Reasons Rex Ryan Will Fail His Team in 2012
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He is a fascinating combination of skill and hard-headedness. He may be incredibly brilliant, but is still incredibly stubborn. He brought the Jets to prominence with back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship game. He was a lighthouse of sorts when he started in New York in 2009. He installed his own identity to the Jets and showed immediate results, taking them to their first conference championship since 1998.
It is easy to root against Ryan and the Jets. They are obnoxious, risky and flawed. However rooting against them could mean the longevity of Rex in New York is limited, something that isn't good for any football fans. The problem is, I can't see the Jets succeeding this season with their current roster. Does that mean Rex isn't the guy? Not necessarily, but he will share some of the blame for their struggles and ultimately take the fall for this team.
Santonio Holmes has to be a leader on the Jet offense.
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What we have learned from the Rex Ryan era in New York is that, with talent, he can win. However when the talent is lacking, Ryan will struggle.
I just don't see where the top tier talent is on this roster. The Jets struggled to gain yards last season, finishing 25th in the NFL. They lost two major cogs at the skill positions in Plaxico Burress and LaDainian Tomlinson. Fourth-year back Shonn Greene has been very inconsistent in his production and his backups are extreme wild cards.
New York fans will have sky-high expectations for second-round pick Stephen Hill. Is Santonio Holmes a legit No. 1 wide receiver? We will find out this year, but in his six-year career he has just one 1,000 yard season and has never caught more than eight touchdowns in a season.
Mark Sanchez has not improved as much as many hoped after his first few seasons and now they have added Tim Tebow, who has struggled with passing, to presumably back him up. Like it or not Jet fans, you have two slightly above mediocre quarterbacks and unless one of them makes a considerable leap in production, this offense won't go anywhere.
Darrelle Revis leads a defense that fell off significantly last season.
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The Jets' once-vaunted defense struggled last season to stop opponents from scoring. New York finished the season ranked 20th in scoring defense after top six rankings in the previous two seasons.
Part of this is due to the aging of defensive stalwarts Bart Scott and Calvin Pace in the middle. The Jets used their first round pick in the 2012 draft on North Carolina DE Quinton Coples. Coples has a chance to be a major factor on the outside for the Jets, however many experts thought the pick was a reach.
The bottom line here is that Ryan has always been known as a defensive-minded coach, however his defense fell off a cliff last season. With players like Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Sione Pouha, Rex's defense should be better than it has been. Should they falter again in 2012, there will be nowhere else to look but Ryan.
Tim Tebow presents a whole new issue for the Jets.
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One thing Rex Ryan is famous for is distractions. Whether it is profanity laced speeches on HBO's Hard Knocks, a creepy foot-fetish video, or running a press conference for a backup QB, the Jets have faced unnecessary difficulties around every corner.
Last season the Jets locker room was in shambles and all the distractions from the fighting within caused an 11-5 team in 2010 to finish .500. Locker room trouble are usually largely over-blown, but the Jets situation was backed up by on the field performance, or lack thereof.
The distractions have only partially subsided. Plaxico Burress is gone, but Santonio Holmes remains in New York as a brooding figure. Enter Tim Tebow into the quarterback situation with Mark Sanchez, who has a career 55:51 TD to INT ratio, and the distractions won't stop. Tebow could be great for the locker room, sure. However he will be pressing to start over Sanchez from the get-go and that will cause more disarray in this offensive unit.
Sanchez will start the season under center, but how long can he last?
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Rex Ryan is going to find himself having to make one of the most difficult decisions of any head coach this season.
A lot will be known after the Week 4 game against the San Fransisco 49ers. The Jets will have some idea of where they will stand in the AFC East with early games against Buffalo and Miami, as well as a telling game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Whether he likes it or not, Mark Sanchez will be on trial through the first four games of the Jets season. If he is tossing TDs to new-found BFF Stephen Hill and the Jets are 2-2 or 3-1, he will get more security. However, should Sanchez be struggling to move his limited offense down the field, the cries for Tebow on WFAN and the back page of the New York Post will start to peak.
Rex's failing will come in the form of either Grady Little-ing and waiting too long to pull the plug on the Sanchize or jumping the gun and implementing Tebow-law on the Jets offense. Two QB offenses just don't work in the alpha dog NFL. Ryan will be the latest coach to learn that lesson.
Is Tony Sparano the answer at offensive coordinator.
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It was no secret that Brian Schottenheimer had to go after the non-potent offense he assembled last season. Tony Sparano has been the beneficiary of the "new car smell" so far in New York.
Sparano's track record, though, is less-than-stellar in the NFL. In his first season as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, he led them to an 11-5 record and playoff birth. He deserves a certain amount of credit for that team, however examining more closely, he was the beneficiary again of more than a few breaks.
Finding a full and healthy Chad Pennington season is like a needle the a haystack of his career stats. His only other full 16 game season came for the 10-6 Jets in 2006. After 2008, Pennington played in just four more NFL games. Sparano also benefited from a full season of the perfect blend running attack of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. However, despite all this, the 21st ranked Dolphin offense mustered three field goals in their playoff blowout to Baltimore.
Sparano's lone division-winning year also coincided with a Tom Brady-less 2008 season.
So why are we to believe Sparano is going to help Rex Ryan? His Miami teams ranking offensively for him from 2008-'11; 21st, 15th, 30th, 20th. Tony Sparano may make Rex and fans forget about Schottenheimer's short-comings, but he won't be helping Rex Ryan make the correct decisions about his offense.