It's the Jets-bye week, we fans are bored, and emotions continue to run high after the Miami disaster. Quite predictably, there's been a plethora of fan-posts about "what should be done", who "should be fired", whether we should re-build and how radically.
This is all legitimate of course. It hasn't been a rosy season, it might even get uglier and people are looking for the culprits. And while there's certainly a few culprits in the Jets organisation, I've read quite a few opinions that pin a considerable share of the blame on Rex Ryan.
Ryan is accountable for the poor 3-5 record so far this season, as he was accountable for the mediocre record last year. I'm not going to go into the nuances of what he does wrong as there are more than enough commentaries detailing the shortcomings of Rex Ryan. Recently I even saw a post discussing possible replacements. As if there are coaches out there, even the best of them, without shortcomings. Take for example Belichick, a coach considered among the elite of the league. Rightfuly so. Yet this is a coach that can't put together a respectable defense in recent seasons. The Pats' pass defense has been such a mess that...even M. Sanchez could easily pick them apart in the recent game at NE. They are giving up miles of yardage and compensate for it offensively. Sure, Belichick wins division titles and SBs. Yes, but he's also got one of the best QBs of all time, the hated Brady. Take the Cowboys and their well known clock-management issues to name just one issue they have. Take other teams loaded with talent that are underachieving each to their own degree (much like the Cowboys): the Eagles, the Falcons, Houston even. Do they have incompetent coaches by definition? Is it that simple? Every year one sees coaching changes in the NFL. To what they amount? Do these changes actually take teams forward or do they often amount to nothing much? Don't many of them happen just for change's sake? Don't they ruin continuity?
In the recent fanpost I read about possible HC replacements for Ryan, I was wondering this: how many of these coaches that many Jets fans are considering would actually do better than Ryan with a QB like Sanchez? Why am I focusing on the QB? Because without a solid QB, it doesn't matter how good the other aspects of the team are, you're not going to go far. In fact, you might have an otherwise monster-roster, but with a poor QB in place you're still destined to go down in flames. The Jets do not have a monster-roster, I'm not implying that, but they surely have a poor QB.
Still, with one of the worst QBs in the league, Ryan took the Jets to 2 AFC championship games. In a row! This, I believe, was mostly due to the Jets defense those 2 years, the team went to the AFC championship inspite of Sanchez. That's tremendous when one takes into account how erratic and mediocre our QB is. Ryan gave personality to the Jets. Some may not fancy that personality, they may find it too cocky, too this, too that, they may even deem it silly. Nevertheless, Ryan gave this team a face when it had none. He took the Jets out of irrelevancy and put them in the spotlight of big games. Yes, he didn't reach the Superbowl, but surely this is not a criterion to fire a coach especially when he's trying to do it with a roster lacking in quality in the critical postions (QB and RB).
As I wrote in another discussion about Ryan here at GGN, Ryan seems to be reflecting on things he's been doing wrong, he seems to be backpedaling, he seems to be asking for suggestions from the staff around him, even if these suggestions are controversial. In other words, he is trying to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. These apparent changes come in stark contrast with the Ryan we saw in his first 2 years as a Jets HC. And they are changes that are sorely needed too.
At the same time though, he needs to be given the benefit of the doubt, especially when other Jet members have been given it. Sanchez was showered with patience when we all thought that Schotty might have been the root of his problems. Now we know that this was an illusion. Sanchez himself is the root of his problems. But, why should Sanchez be granted such patience when he plays the most important position on the team but yet Ryan should be fired when his job is to a large degree depended on Sanchez? What about the rest of the tools aside of Sanchez, like the RBs. I mean, Greene? Please. The question here is how much say does Rex actually have in the draft picks or even the trades? There are enough indications that he's not on the same page with Tanny (one notable example: WR Hill), there's in fact quite some speculation on whether he wanted Tebow as well. And it goes on.
If Tannenbaum were to be replaced next season why should Ryan be a goner with him? Why should he not be granted the same benefit of doubt that Sanchez was granted? Why should he not be given at least one more year under a new GM? Why, to sum it all up, should the Jets blow up the whole team when in fact some continuity might be extremely important if they are to go in partial-rebuild mode?
I belong in a small minority of Jets fans who think that the roster actually does have talent, more than a lot would be ready to believe. At the same time I also think that the Jets are sorely bad at key positions like the QB and the RB position. And unless these 2 positions are seriously addressed we're not going to see much improvement. But, for the foreseeable future (meaning: at least one more year) I'm all for Ryan staying as HC of the team. With all his mistakes, and I think he's recognising quite a few of them, he deserves that much.