Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Jets: In Rex's Biggest Season Yet, He Needs to be Himself

After a subdued 2013 for Rex Ryan, it’s looking like the old Rex is returning in full effect. The New York Jets head coach has seemingly returned to his bold talking, boisterous and confident ways as we roll into 2014 training camp.

I for one like it. I don’t necessarily agree with all of his remarks, like the Patriots should be worried about the Jets. But I do buy into his confidence and expectation of this team to make the postseason. He’s a unique coach in the sense that he oftentimes says what he feels and isn’t afraid to do so. His outward confidence and belief in his team helps motivate them to turn him into a prophet.

After all, if they don’t Rex will likely be losing his job.

If you’re going to go down, go down being authentic and not a toned-down, tame version of yourself. Maybe it was what the organization and Ryan himself needed at the time, but this is a new season and new chapter—Rex needs to be Rex.

Did we ever think that maybe this is some Rex choreography? If reporters are busy talking about the coach’s antics there’s less talk about the thin secondary, the quarterback and the offensive line. Like him or not, Ryan is smart and I wouldn’t put it past him to draw the attention to himself the way we saw him do so in 2009 and 2010.

In five seasons at the helm of gang green, Ryan holds a 46-40 record including a 4-2 mark in the postseason. His tenure has been one embroiled in controversy from tattoos to neglecting the offense to quarterback controversies and everything in between. By some fault of his own and some not, Ryan has proven himself and the Jets to be polarizing but he’s never been one to care what other people think.

The Jet fans should share the mentality.

Rex still has along way to go in order to become an elite coach but considering the obstacles he’s done more with less at times in New York. Last season’s 8-8 record was a gross overachievement given a lack of talent and was probably Rex’s best coaching season despite not making the playoffs.

It still doesn’t change the fact that the Jets haven’t had a record above .500 or made the playoffs since 2010 and time is running out on Ryan.

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He was given a one-year extension before Week 17 of last season by owner Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik but don’t be fooled by that. It was a nice gesture and reward but the fact remains that Ryan may not last past this season. More than anything, that may have been merely to boost the confidence of the team heading into the offseason and take the lame duck tag off his coach, whose contract would’ve run out after the upcoming season.

For all intents and purposes, Rex indeed is a lame duck coach the same way he was last season. Forget the fact that his contract wasn’t running out—a coach’s shelf life in a given place is never guaranteed and the contract in many cases ends up meaning very little.

As far as 2014 goes, the seat will be heated all season and will surely get hotter under Rex if the Jets are unable to turn the corner they’ve approached. If the club misses the postseason entirely, don’t be surprised to see Idzik and Johnson go for a change in New York. It would be the fourth year in a row the Rex-led Jets are watching the postseason from home.

Because of the situation he’s currently in, this is without a doubt Ryan’s most important season as a coach. This year will dictate the direction his career moves in and there’s certainly a weight on his shoulders. That’s why I don’t think he should worry about toning it down or appeasing the masses.

Rex is an in-your-face, tell you what he thinks kind of coach that his players enjoy going to battle for. If the Jets are going to regain the success they had at the start of his tenure, they’re better off with Ryan going back to his old ways.

If things go the way they have, we could be in for a season of some throwback Rex Ryan. Whether the Jets back it up or not won’t matter—we’ll be in for an interesting ride with gang green either way.

Tags: Afc East Football New York Jets NFL Rex Ryan

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