The Case Against Rex

jet_veteran and others make some valid points in his "The Case for Rex." I had high hopes for Rex when he was hired for a number of reasons. One, was his prowress as a defensive mind. Two, was his lineage and his love for the Jets. Three, was his enthusiasm and energy.

Unfortunately, some of his flaws became almost immediately apparent in spite of his successes of the first two years. Most Jets fans loved his cockiness and brashness from the get-go. I was less enthusiastic about that, as I've learned over the years that that kind of attitude and personality is usually an attempt to hide insecurities, and can lead to the person being a bully and a coward. To his credit, he has tempered those personality traits. I won't speculate as to whether it's because he was humbled or because he learned that it was hurting the team.

I wish his flaws had been limited to such trivial things. Other flaws started becoming apparent, the kind of flaws that can undo whatever positives and successes Rex brings to the table. They are the type that will just tease Jets fans, as they won't allow for ultimate success. IMO, if he is to stay, then we need to see significant change or progress towards changing these flaws. What I perceive to be his flaws are listed below. They are ranked in order from most damaging to least damaging.

1. Too much of a "player coach" causing him to be too loyal (to both players and coaches), which either blinds him to how they are playing/coaching and/or from holding them accountable.

Included in this has been his ability (or lack thereof) to develop the young talent on the team in a timely manner or recognize that the talent has developed. A prime example is McKnight. We ALL can see that the offense needs a dynamic playmaker. McKnight is that yet he rarely touches the ball on offense. Whether it is Rex's failings or the failings of his CS subordinates, doesn't matter. The ultimate responsibility rests with Rex.

It also allows the team to be too undisciplined and causes them to beat themselves with shoddy fundamentals. Above all, this is a deal breaker imo, and is probably the hardest to change, both in terms of Rex himself, and for the players. When one is leading, if one wants discipline and ultimate control, one needs to be strict and tough from the beginning and then one can always ease up a little over time. It is almost impossible to go the other direction. In order for that to work, the Jets would probably have to turn over at least half the roster. This is the main reason I think he should go. This is the least likely to change for the better.

Another aspect of this is that I don't think that Rex really knows how to lead. At Baltimore, he had players like Ray Lewis that led for him. A team needs players who can help lead, but the leadership has to come from above.

2. Getting the team ready to play. All too many times over the last 4 years, especially the last two, one or more units of the team have failed to show up for games for at least a half, if not the entire game. It happened in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game and that was inexcusable, yet nothing was learned from that. The Jets should have been in the SB. Often times, they aren't prepared mentally. Rex's sole means of getting the team ready to play seems to be firing them up emotionally. Teams/players can only do that so many times in a season. IMO it is absolutely inexcusable that the team or one unit of the team shows up flat so many times and seemingly unprepared. Prior to the second Miami game, Rex proclaimed that they had had their best week of practice the whole season. The result? The team was humiliated at home. I don't know if their game plans are flawed, if he's too lax in practice, if they can't anticipate what other teams will/might do, or if it's just a matter than Rex isn't cerebral enough. If it's the latter, this will not change.

3. Playing not to lose. Just like Herm Edwards, Rex proclaims that he's playing to win, but it's an obvious lie or he's delusional. Going passive to a prevent defense at the end of a game when your D has been doing the job the entire game, or going ultra safe and conservative on offense is not playing to win. We've seen LOTS of examples of this over the years. The NE game was a perfect example. As ___key pointed out, part of this may be Rex's failings as a defensive coach. How does a rookie LB like Davis wind up on a slot receiver like Welker with the game on the line, especially when Trufant had done an excellent job the entire game?

Part of it may be due to having too much confidence in his D and too little in his offense. Part of it may be due to his lack of knowledge about offense. Part of it may be due to his not being very cerebral and unable to outcoach others. Regardless, unless it is the latter, this <em>can</em> be changed, and shouldn't be all that difficult to do so. For starters he can tell Sparano to start being more aggressive and do a better job of play calling. They can figure out how/when to use Tebow and then use him for something other than a dive into the middle of the line. They can start giving McKnight a lot more touches on offense. They can work on screens and draws until Sanchez and company are executing them flawlessly in their sleep. They can make Hill catch passes every day until his hands bleed. If Sanchez continues to stuggle, they can give Tebow a shot and if he falters, then McElroy.

A better job of scouting or figuring out other team's tendencies needs to be done, and then Rex needs to have a solid gameplan, with some surprises held in check until key moments in the game. He needs to have at least 2 or 3 alternative strategies prepared prior to each game in case his game plan doesn't work, so he can quickly make changes without having to scratch his head and try to figure it out over the course of a quarter or half.

4. Making quick in-game adjustments. Rex and/or Pettine seem very slow to diagnose and make changes in games when the game plan isn't working. This is strongly tied to #3 above and shouldn't be difficult to change.

5. Ability to understand how to reach or motivate players, "push the right buttons" to help the players develop. Rex just doesn't seem to have this gift, and I believe that it is absolutely essential that a HC have this gift or skill.

6. Clock management. This isn't rocket science. Usually their wasted time outs are due to not being prepared and/or unorganized. Again, this is inexcusable. This is something most fans understand and could do.

I'm sure there are others that I've forgotten or missed. I can see a point in giving Rex another year under a different GM. My only problem with that is that it could wind up delaying the team's turnaround by several years or in damaging some of the younger players (and the team) by hampering their ability to develop to their full potential with his approaches, philosophy, and attempts to change and grow. In addition, a young GM (as well as Tanny) might continue to listen too much to Rex (if that is part of the problem) with regard to the players he wants in the draft or FA, and then if Rex is fired at the end of 2013, those players might not be a fit for the systems the new HC wants to play, so yet another draft and offseason will be wasted. We also know that timing can be critical. What if one of the coaches whose names we've already mentioned would be just what the Jets need to build the winner we want, we keep Rex for another year, and then that coach is no longer available or the team has deteriorated to the point where that coach would have no interest in taking the Jets' job?

In spite of the above, I have at least some hope that Rex can learn and grow and make the necessary changes to be successful. I want it for him and the Ryans, but moreso for the Jets and for us fans. I'm just not sure that giving him another year is in the best interest of the team.

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