Rex Ryan: Beleaguered Head Coach Isn't Main Issue for Jets

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 09:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets watches the action during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 9, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The New York Jets lost to the Tennessee Titans 14-10 Monday night in a rather pitiful display, costing them a shot at the playoffs and causing analysts everywhere to lament the horrid performance by a team with so much at stake.

Yet, after last night, all I could think about was, "This Jets team is 6-8? Really? Rex Ryan has done a pretty good job, because this team seems way too bad to be 6-8 right now."

The team is devoid of a single talented player at the skill positions. The Tim Tebow experiment has been a distracting failure of epic proportions. Mark Sanchez is not a starting-caliber quarterback in this league. The team's best player, Darrelle Revis, is out of the year. The locker room is toxic.

And yet, they're 6-8, somehow. Well done, Rex. 

There are so many issues in New York that are bigger than the head coach it isn't even funny. General manager Mike Tannenbaum has to go. The same goes for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, Sanchez and Tebow. They should probably just cut Santonio Holmes loose as well.

Sure, when he was injured and lost for the year he left the Jets without a single viable weapon on offense. But over the years, he's proven to be little more than a talented player whose selfishness and combustible personality divides the locker room.

Leadership? Yeah, the locker room could use some of that. An infusion of young talent would sure be nice.

But, a new head coach?

I don't think that's necessary.

Ryan isn't perfect. He's stuck with Sanchez for too long, and heaven help him if he starts Sanchez again this year. Ryan's personality and countless predictions are fun for the media, but they put pressure on his team and he's often lacked the personnel to back up his claims.

Still, I think Ryan is the right coach for the Jets. Everything and everyone around him needs to go as the rebuilding process begins, but he has the right combination of attitude and experience to make it work with the Jets. He's a hard-nosed, entertaining guy who knows his stuff, wants to win and doesn't accept crap from his team (minus his quarterback, that is).

Is there a better recipe for a head coach in New York than that?

I understand the argument out there that, sometimes, it's better to just start fresh. Sometimes, a coach's message gets old, he loses the locker room and change is inevitable. Look no further than Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles as the perfect example of that process taking place.

Not that Reid has lost the locker room like Ryan has, I'm sure, but Reid's message and system have gotten stale after all of these years. This isn't the ideal team he built when he first came to Philly. You could argue the same for Ryan, who desperately misses his old, dominant defenses.

Yet, the Jets are 6-8. Sure, the offense is more boring than Ben Stein announcing a game of chess, and a proud defense suddenly isn't all that great against the run. Yes, the schedule has been soft down the stretch and has helped, but you can only play the teams on your schedule.

Somewhere in this season, there has to be a silver lining. It certainly hasn't come from the players or front office. I choose to see Ryan keeping this team together as the one bright spot in an otherwise disastrous campaign.

Not everyone will see it that way, of course. But if the Jets finish 8-8, won't you be pretty shocked? Won't you feel like the team actually overachieved?

If so, someone will deserve credit. I'd suggest you look no further than the head coach in that case.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets would never align their future with Mark Sanchez. Never.

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