New York Jets: 3 Reasons Rex Ryan's to Blame for Sputtering Start
The 2012 New York Jets are bad. There's no way around that fact.
Injuries have devastated this team, but they were bad before Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes went down with season-ending injuries. A lot of blame for why the Jets are bad falls on head coach Rex Ryan.
The Jets are not playing well on the field. Their 2-3 record can actually be conceived as flattering. Their loss to Houston on Monday night was the best they've looked since that promising Week 1 blowout against Buffalo.
Consider that their best performance in four weeks was a game in which the offense only scored 10 points and the defense gave up 169 rushing yards, and you'll know all you need to about how this season has been going.
The team's poor performance must be attributed, at least in part, to the coaching staff, headed by Ryan. Over the past few years, the team has also developed a negative reputation.
That, more than the poor play, is Rex Ryan's fault.
Rex Ryan and his faithful old linebacker Bart Scott took offense when the franchise was labeled as a circus at the beginning of the season. But all they have to do is take a step back and look at what comes out of Jets camp on a weekly basis and the performance on the field every Sunday.
This team is a circus.
And it doesn't look like it's leaving town anytime soon.
Lack of Discipline
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
The New York Jets have actually been pretty disciplined in terms of penalties. They only average about 52 penalty yards per game.
However, there's more to being disciplined on the football field than not committing penalties.
There have been plenty of singular instances of thoughtless mistakes made by different Jets throughout this season.
When Mark Sanchez threw an interception on a screen pass against San Francisco, it was a mental error. When the defense left no safeties deep, and Owen Daniels was able to get wide open and make a 34-yard touchdown completion, it was a mental error.
These mistakes fall on the players, but they also fall on the coach. They show a lack of preparation. The time to find these errors and correct them is on the practice field. The Jets are clearly showing up unprepared.
For all of the singular moments, there are also overarching concerns.
For one, the Jets inability to stop the run is a result of a lack of discipline, but I'll talk more about that in a moment.
Another example was when the Jets had to burn a timeout in the second half of the Texans game. The offense was actually moving the ball when on first down, Sparano decided to use one of his "tricky" formations, but the Jets didn't know who was supposed to be on the field.
The ensuing confusion forced Rex Ryan to burn a timeout, a timeout which would have been useful when Mark Sanchez tried to put together a winning drive at the end of the game.
Some may argue that these mistakes fall on the players, not the coaches. But the coaches' jobs are to make sure the players are ready. Rex Ryan's job is to make sure the coaches are doing their jobs. If the players are unprepared or making mental mistakes, it comes back to Coach Ryan.
Sometimes, it's not easy being at the top of the food chain.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Heading into the season, the Jets were not picked to be the best offense in the NFL. They were picked, however, to be at the top of the league in terms of defense.
Defense is Rex Ryan's bread and butter. It's what he does best. Most figured that whatever happened with the offense, the defense would keep the Jets in games.
Boy, were they wrong.
The loss of Revis hurt, but the passing defense is still pretty good. The run defense, on the other hand, is the worst in the league. Let me repeat that. Through five games, Rex Ryan's run defense is the worst in the league.
How or why this is is really not a concern to Jets fans. What is a concern is the fact that it is occurring at all. Rex has to be concerned with the hows and whys. It is completely on him to fix this problem.
The Jets seem to be missing tackles at each level of their defense. They signed safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in the offseason. The word on them coming in was that they weren't very good at coverage, but they can stuff running backs.
Where has that been?
The Jets are allowing almost five yards per carry. It's embarrassing.
Further embarrassing the Jets was 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers' statements that the Jets quit in the second half of their game against San Francisco.
Embarrassing the franchise seems to be something Rex Ryan cannot help doing, which brings me to my final point...
Still Saying the Wrong Things
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
When Rex Ryan first became the head coach of the New York Jets, his brash rhetoric was seen as refreshing. He instantly became one of the NFL's favorite coaches. Fans thought he was hysterical and players wanted to play for him.
A lot has changed over the past four years.
Rex's Super Bowl guarantees in his first two years were one thing. After all, his Jets were one game away from the Super Bowl both seasons. After missing the playoffs last year, Rex finally decided to tone it down in 2012.
But has he really?
He opened the year saying that this was the best roster he's ever had. Besides being an obviously untrue statement, is it much different than guaranteeing a Super Bowl, considering how far his other teams have gotten?
Not to mention that Rex said he didn't want to put Darrelle Revis on the injured reserve list, in case the cornerback would be healthy enough to play for the Jets in the Super Bowl.
One might ask how Rex's rhetoric affects the team's performance. Here's an example:
It was bad enough that the Jets organization brought in Tim Tebow to be the the backup quarterback. Tebow became the most popular backup quarterback in the league, and everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before the fans started calling for the inferior QB to start over Sanchez.
Now, to make matters worse, Ryan won't give Sanchez more than a week-long endorsement.
That's not making Sanchez's job any easier, and it most certainly affects the team negatively.