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What the Press Conference Told Me about Rex, the Offense and the Jets

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Rex Won

Especially after watching Woody's body language and facial expressions when Rex was talking about becoming an attack unpredictable offense, it felt as if Rex had succeeded in convincing him that he had tried to make his personality permeate throughout the whole football team (all 3 phases). Rex said this over and over. It seems pretty clear - to me - that the REASON Rex gave Woody that he was unable to accomplish this was Tannebaum. Tannebaum some how - Rex argued - got in the way of the team COMPLETELY reflecting Rex Ball. I'm sure a big part of this was - Rex said - personnel.

For those that think that this press conference confirmed that there was a Rex/Tannenbaum power struggle and that Rex won, there seems a lot of evidence for that in the vision expressed here (more Rex, all Rex, all the time). Truth be told, that was the only thing that could have saved Rex anyways, after this season. It had to be: I was prevented from having it my way, my way would have worked!

I also think there are signs that indeed Rex wanted to be an unpredictable attack offense, at least some part of Rex. That was expressed in the pre-season when he said he thought that this was the best team ever. He thought the simplified, but downfield Sparano attack would help the defense finally. He dreamed that with Sanchez doing well suddenly Tebow would come in and confuse everyone (well, everyone other than the Jets themselves). Even when Schottenheimer would dream up 50 pass offensive game plans there must have been a Rex that said "Yeah! They'll never expected that! That's like our overload blitzes!", even though again and again Rex would then return back to the "ground and pound" "Jet football!" mantra when it all failed.

We are not going to have a completely different offensive roster brimming with dangerous skill position guys. We are not going to have a running back who can take it to the house if you miss two tackles, busting it up the gut. Our offensive line is going to be pretty much the same, and our QB is going to be unpredictable in the wrong way.

What we seem to have instead is that Rex has convinced Woody that Tannebaum - whether through personnel or just organizational power - prevented Rex from fully being Rex. But also that when reality strikes midnight and Rexerella turns into a pumpkin game one of 2013, the personnel, the cap, the everything, is going to have us in a very similar place as we found ourselves in 2013 (on offense at least). We are going to have Rex talking about "the best chance to win" all over again, and the Attack!...no Pound, don't turn it over!..no, Attack! schizophrenia will start all over again.

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From Rhetoric to Reality - An Offense Like the Defense

Part of the realization that the rhetoric of the press conference is both a probably a reflection of Rex's positioning with Woody, and not a realistic description of what actually will happen with the Jets on the field (other than likely the kind of OC that will be chosen), is how impractical such a revolution in the Offense will be. Rex says that he wants the Offense to be just like his Defense. But what is his Defense? His Defense is one of the most complex defenses in football, SO complex that rookies like Coples and Davis can't even be made full time players in it, even by year's end, so complex it has been instituted by a coaching staff that knows each other very well and has the teaching of it completely down to a science (which is one reason why the Pettine departure will be felt). Not only this, such a defense has personnel that take up 5 of the top 7 salary cap positions for the team, it has the talent and experience to run it. This, all of these, is precisely what the Offense does not, and will not have, not the talent nor the coaching staff glue, no matter who we hire.

By most accounts the reason the Jets went for Sparano was because the Schottenheimer offense (same offensive coaching philosophy tree as Norv) was just too complicated for Mark despite years in it. Whether Mark is the QB next year or some inexpensive replacement we cannot say, but putting in some complicated "unpredictable" attack offense is very difficult to do, especially when you have a QB that lacks almost all the mental and physical tools to pull it off. The Jets just don't have the personnel ($$$, space) to become the Defense, but on Offense, nor the time and resources to successfully implement it. One guesses that that may have been thought process behind the Tebow signing last year, a way to make the Offense unpredictable fast and on the cheap, "spicing up" the Sparano simplification for a couple of million - we know how that worked. Sparano complained that you just can't run what Tebow runs well part time. As much a Rex wants to talk about how much he wants the Offense to be Rex-ified, the reality is it can't be what he is describing, and Rex must know this. The Offense just doesn't have the horses to be a "I don't know if we will win, but you DONT want to play us!" Offense, and what is concerning is that they may try to be this, at least at first, armed with a new OC of the right mind. There was a time when we fans cried "Just let Mark be Mark!" but that time is long gone. We have realized its "Just don't let Mark be Mark! Please."

Most likely the whole "attack" rhetoric reflects the kinds of things Rex told Woody, selling himself to him over Tannebaum. Deep into he press conference Woody who otherwise was largely inert, repeatedly nodded and turned to face the press, and then to face Rex, over and over, back and forth, while Rex talked about this transformation, the making of the offense like him. This was about Rex winning the battle to narrate why the Jets lost last year, more than anything else. Don't get me wrong. Changes will be made, new players will be running around next summer on Offense. The Rex kick-your-ass rhetoric will be in full bloom. Mark will be talking about how much he learned during his time off, how good it is to have a fresh start, but this Offense faces serious, nearly fatal hurdles to even be average, and becoming more like Rex - fast - sounds almost like a recipe for disaster. Remember the talk on Defense all last summer? One step faster! Look who played on Defense. Don't be fooled by talk.

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