Rex Ryan should not be the scapegoat.
Unfortunately for the perplexing head coach, the Jets are going to need one after this nationally criticized season. After displaying some poor judgement, he seems to be a top candidate for scapegoat-dom.
Nonetheless, firing him is not the answer to New York's problems.
This is, after all, the guy who led New York to two-straight AFC Championship games just two seasons ago, and despite going 6-8 so far this season, is six games over .500 as a head coach (34-28).
This is the guy who has a truly brilliant defensive mind. Despite losing the best defensive back in the NFL for the season, he has still managed to lead a defense that is eighth in the NFL in total yards allowed per game and second in passing yards allowed per game.
When it all comes down to it, Ryan, as Grantland's Bill Barnwell points out, is still a good head football coach:
Will say this much: I think Rex Ryan is a very decent head football coach. Don't think firing him will solve anything.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 18, 2012
The head coach is not the problem for this team. Ryan hasn't suddenly forgotten how to motivate just two years after winning 11 games.
Instead, it's the personnel.
The Jets need to get rid of Mark Sanchez in the offseason, and not replace him with Greg McElroy or Tim Tebow. They need to find a potential franchise quarterback. They need to fire Tony Sparano and find someone who is willing to run a more modern offense.
Granted, Ryan is at fault for some of the wrong personnel being there in the first place, and if he is unwilling to accept those faults and fix them, then it would be time for him to go.
However, if Ryan is willing to acknowledge he needs to make some drastic changes (big "if," I know), then there's no point in firing him. He's still a good football coach. He wasn't the one on the field throwing 17 interceptions to just 13 touchdowns. He wasn't the one completing an atrocious 55 percent of his passes.
It wasn't his fault that Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes suffered season-ending injuries, completing the changed look of this team.
Rex Ryan, just like everyone else in New York this season, is at fault for certain things that have gone wrong in 2012. But he hasn't done enough to earn a pink slip.