Why Rex Ryan Deserves Another Year as New York Jets Head Coach

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

The Jets would be foolish to get rid of Rex Ryan.
The Jets would be foolish to get rid of Rex Ryan.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Even after Monday night's debacle, one thing is clear: Rex Ryan deserves another year as the head coach of the New York Jets

Despite his team's complete ineptitude in critical moments, the whole Tim Tebow fiasco and the disaster that is Mark Sanchez, Rex isn't the problem that needs fixing. 

In fact, he's probably part of the solution, provided he gets any competent help from the guys around him. 

If the Jets had managed to beat the lowly Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, they would have been neck and neck with the Pittsburgh Steelers to try and steal one of the remaining wild-card spots. 

Instead, Mark Sanchez literally threw away the Jets' chance at the playoffs and perhaps his starting spot. 

Is this Rex's fault? Partially. 

But if it came down to keeping Sanchez or Big Rex, the answer is unequivocally on the head coach. 

Unlike division rival New England or stellar franchises like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, New York simply doesn't have the stability, organization or vision from the front office to put its head coach in a position to win. 

The fact that the Jets handed Sanchez—who's now thrown the same number of career touchdown passes (68) as interceptions—a $40.5 million extension in the offseason is a travesty, but that's not on Ryan. 

General manager Mike Tannenbaum is at the root of the Jets' personnel problems—problems that have escalated over the past few years. 

Since selecting Darrelle Revis in 2007, Tannenbaum's draft record includes colossal bust Vernon Gholston, the annually disappointing Sanchez and questionable picks like Vlad Ducasse, Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill. 

Meanwhile, Ryan has overcome some poor personnel decisions and taken the Jets to two AFC Championship Games and compiled a 34-28 record since 2009. 

Ryan has managed to be successful despite having an awful quarterback, a severe lack of skill players and a no-name defense outside of Revis. 

Oh, and he's still gone 6-8 this year without the best defensive player in the NFL and his most talented, albeit troubled receiver (Santonio Holmes). 

While the team's on-field success obviously falls on Ryan's shoulders, he hasn't got a lot of help from the front office or his quarterback. 

Instead of cleaning house and bringing in a new coach, Jets owner Woody Johnson should ultimately bring in a new GM who can steer the club in a clear direction, especially offensively. 

Give Ryan a chance to add a few skill players on offense and a pass-rusher or two through the draft and free agency, and this team's fortunes could turn around quickly. 

As far as Sanchez, the onus falls on Johnson to deal with that situation. Sanchez's contract is pretty prohibitive, but if the Jets truly want to give Ryan one more chance to succeed, he needs to be shown the door. 

No matter his 2012 record, Ryan is still one of the better head coaches in this league. 

If the Jets plan on ever challenging the Patriots for a division crown, they'd better hold onto him for at least another season, make some changes in the front office and end the Sanchez era.