New York Jets: The Cornerback Divide

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Rex Ryan is on record stating a belief that no two positions lose games quicker in the NFL with bad play than quarterback and cornerback. The cornerback position is essential in his scheme. In an ideal world, he wants to be able to send blitzers from all different angles consistently. To pull this off, he needs cornerbacks who can stand up one on one.

Interestingly if you've paid attention this offseason, it seems like the Jets have not followed Rex's preferred path at the position. There are three relatively high profile examples.

Example #1:

Johnson, who ordered Idzik to trade Revis last year, clearly did not have the desire to do business with Revis again after going through two bitter holdouts. Johnson and Idzik never discussed a Revis reunion, although Rex Ryan wanted to bring him back. Revis was never brought up in any of the Jet meetings.

Example #2:

The Jets had a glaring need in the secondary after cutting Antonio Cromartie last week. DRC, a press, man-to-man cover corner, would have been an ideal replacement in Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme. Sources close to Ryan admitted that he wasn’t pleased at all that the Jets couldn’t land DRC.

Example #3:

In short, the Jets need to get some positive production out of McDougle in the coming years. Leading into the draft, Ryan said he viewed McDougle as something of a risk, because of his limited body of work in 2013.

“I saw him that way a little bit,” Ryan said. “But the confidence of (general manager) John (Idzik) and of (defensive coordinator) Dennis Thurman in particular, that kind of eased my little doubts, if you will. They were adamant about it. Because I was like, ‘Man, he only played three games, and the competition, it wasn’t like he was playing Clemson.’”

No report on its own means a whole lot, but enough of these, and they can take on some significance. It does seem like there is evidence the Jets are not making the moves at cornerback Rex Ryan wants. Given the premium Rex puts on the position, this is a somewhat significant development.

Now, friends, before you start filling up the comments section with statements like, "OMG YOU TROLL!!!! WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO CREATE A CONTROVERSY?!?!?!?!111111," please note I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. There is always going to be some level of disagreement among the top people in any organization. It frankly would be unhealthy if there wasn't. There just aren't many successful organizations where everybody always agrees about important decisions 100% of the time. That's because nobody is right 100% of the time. If you have an organization with 100% consensus all the time, you are going to get a lot of things wrong. It is a sign the boss is afraid of diversity of opinion or the boss has hired yes men. Neither of these is a good thing. As long as conflict is handled constructively, disagreement is good.

Where I think this is noteworthy is how difficult it has been to get a read on the internal workings of the Jets' organization for years. At this point it seems like John Idzik and Rex Ryan have different views at the cornerback position, and Idzik as general manager is asserting his will. Others seem to have more influence on his thinking at the spot. Given the importance Rex puts on the position, it is possible this is true of the way the roster is being built. Again, this isn't necessarily bad. I think there is some circumstantial evidence to suggest the last general manager perhaps gave the coaching staff too much say. The general manager's job is to get everybody's input and then decide what is best for the team based on all of that information, not necessarily to give the coaches carte blanche. Part of this is probably due to the conflicting goals the two men have. A bad season probably won't cost Idzik his job. It might cost Ryan his so one man has a long term emphasis while the other's view is more short term.

We will have to wait to see whether this was a good or bad thing.


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