Underneath all the hype of Tim Tebow, criticism of Mark Sanchez, and mess of our locker room is a point the media has seemed to miss: the 2012-2013 NFL season will define Rex Ryan's tenure as the Jet's Head Coach.
Through his first two years, Rex Ryan was celebrated, rightfully so, as one of the best coaches in Jet history after leading us to two consecutive AFC Championships with a young, inexperienced QB in Mark Sanchez. However, the wheels began to fall off in the beginning of the third year when he allowed the offense to progress from 'Ground and Pound' to an air it out 3 WR set. It didn't work. Eventually, by the end of the year we collapsed, losing three straight, to fall out of the playoff race. Unfortunately, news of a lockerroom mutiny spread like wildfire, leaving Rex to explain he didn't have the "pulse" of the team. So where does this leave us now?
The press has called us a joke. A circus. The little brother. Again. The New York Media is brutal and Rex seat is getting warmer by the second; a far cry from his first two years when the only flak he took was guaranteeing a Super Bowl he would not win. The bottom line is Rex needs to change this franchise . . . again, just like he did his first year.
He needs to get more involved with the offense and MAINTAIN an identity. No more throwing 50 times one game and then running 40 times the next game just for the sake of running. No more leniency towards your offense, get on them just like you do your defense. No more staying stubborn on defense and blitzing every third and long. No more being content with just making the playoffs. No more.
Now I'm not saying Rex is the sole reason for our collapse last year, but he needs to continue to become a better coach: have better game management, have a clear offensive identity, and most importantly keep the lockerroom in line.
We're going to learn a lot about Rex Ryan this year. Can he come through in the face of adversity? (and adversity is an understatement) Can he handle co-existing QB's in Sanchez and Tebow? If he can, and I hope he will, then he'll show he can still be a damn good coach even when the going get tough, and is that much closer to becoming a New York Jet legend. If not, no one will give a damn about how many top five defenses he's produced, and he'll join a long list of former coaches who started hot before ultimately burning out.