The sad reality of New York Jets football right now is that, for all intents and purposes, the rest of these games are meaningless. The team is not playoff bound for the third straight season, the team is likely to fail to reach .500 for the second consecutive year, and it’s obvious some changes need to be made.
One of those changes should not be the termination of Head Coach Rex Ryan. Next year is the final year of Ryan’s contract, but it is rare for any team to keep on a “lame duck” coach, so it is likely that Ryan will either be given a contract extension in the off season, or be shown the door. I think firing Rex would be a huge mistake. The man deserves to be here for the foreseeable future, he has earned it.
Rex is a boisterous, in your face, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy and rubs some people the wrong way. His polarizing personality garners him a lot more attention than other coaches. That extra attention, in turn, amplifies everything that he does and can distort the reality that he really is one heck of a football coach. I can, and will, make the argument that the Jets have overachieved every single year during Rex’s tenure.
His first two year’s at the helm he coached this team to consecutive AFC championship games, something that even the most optimistic Jet fan could not have anticipated. The franchise has only appeared in 5 championship games in their existence, Rex has guided them to two of them. He gets discredited for his efforts in those years because he ‘inherited the team’ but I didn’t see that team he inherited in the playoffs before Rex arrived. Hoever, it must be noted that since his first two years he and has failed to guide the Jets to the playoffs again. I do not blame Rex for the franchise’s recent struggles.
The teams that have been assembled since then have been bereft of offensive talent. In reality every team Rex has coached has been offensively challenged. In the last 5 years the Jets have never had a top 10 offense in yards or points and have finished 20th or worse in yards 4 of the 5 years. The NFL is now undoubtedly a quarterback driven league and Rex has had Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith at the helm for him, I know it’s early for Geno but it doesn’t seem either of those two are Canton-bound, and yet Ryan still boasts an above .500 career record. I don’t think there are very many coaches that could have done what he has with the offensive talent he has been given. I would love to see what Rex could do if given a competent offensive squad to go along with his perennial top 10 defense (this year’s team is currently ranked 12th, but the previous 4 Jets D’s have been top 10 in the NFL).
Coming into this season many pundits thought that this Jets team would be the worst team in all of football, they aren’t even the worst team in the AFC east (the Jets have not finished last in the division during the Ryan era). I looked at the roster and thought this was at best a 4 win football team, I imagine most of you out there felt the same way, they already have 5 wins with 4 games to go. To fire this coach would be a huge mistake for this team. You may not like his attitude, you may not like his bravado, but you can not deny that he gets every ounce out of his players, and that is the mark of a good coach.
(all stats via pro-football-reference.com)