Let me preface this by saying that I really like Rex Ryan. He is the best defensive coach in the league and wherever his career takes him, I will continue to follow him and root for him. Rex has a chance to do what was deemed impossible by sports writers across the country at the beginning of the season: make THIS Jets team a .500 ball club. Without question, this is the best Rex we’ve seen in the past few years. Coming into the season, new GM John Idzik forced Rex to change his ways: we did not see the bravado or the unnecessary and locker room material quotes predicting a Super Bowl like we have in the past. This Rex has been more reserved and more likable outside of the Jets organization and fanbase. However, it is important to look at Rex’s full body of work to appropriately decide his future.
We must start with the 2010 season, Rex’s second season with the team. There’s no other way to put it: this team was stacked. The offensive line was one of the best we’ve seen in the past few years. Throughout the regular season, they were held under 100 rush yards exactly once, in a 10-6 loss to the Dolphins. In this game, the Jets rushed for 87 yards. Throughout the year, Mark ‘The Sanchize’ Sanchez also only threw 13 picks, his career best. This goes to show how much time he had in the pocket. The Mark Sanchez we all have come to know could not have an Int% of only 2.6% without an offensive line consisting of D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, and Damien Woody. This unit was coached by the best in the business: Bill Callahan. With this offensive line, Sanchez was asked to just not turn the ball over. When Sanchez was asked to throw the ball, he had a good receiving corps in a healthy and happy duo of Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards, the gritty Jerricho Cotchery, and emerging tight end Dustin Keller.
On the other side of the ball, the Jets were no cakewalk either. According to advancednflscouts.com, the Jets were near the top of the league in defensive success against both the run and pass. The 2010 Jets defense’s success was well documented and there is no need to go much more into that. Let’s fast forward to the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers. We were coming off the best game in the history of the Jets since Super Bowl III. Everyone was so jacked up and ready to go to battle against the Steelers… except the Jets themselves. We played lifelessly in the first half and dug ourselves too deep of a hole to come back from in the second half. That is unacceptable, especially when your head coach is known for being a great motivator. We had the chance to reach the Super Bowl that year and absolutely blew it.
Throughout Rex’s tenure with the Jets, he has allowed his players to get away with way too much. There has been no accountability. Eric Smith underperforms week after week? No problem, back him up in press conferences and he’ll be fine. That is, until 2011 week 16 comes and we’re 8-6 going into the Giants game. What does he do? Takes a bad angle and isn’t able to stop Victor Cruz from going 99 yards to the house to change the game and our season. After that game Santonio Holmes continually shows a bad attitude and does not even produce on the field? Rex never even benches him and by all accounts, never even has a talk with him about it. He is too loyal to "his guys" and that can’t happen. Rex is also terrible on the sidelines. He lets his emotions get the best of him. When something goes wrong, he throws the challenge flag without thinking.