Taking a break from Braylon Edwards, the New York Observer has an interesting article talking about the grooming Rex Ryan received from his father making a difference between he and other first year Jets coaches who got off to fast starts.
Al Groh went 4-0 as the Jets’ new coach, then 6-1, on his way to 9-7. Bill Parcells went 8-4, on his way to 9-7. Herman Edwards went 10-6 and got lit up by the Raiders in the playoffs. Eric Mangini—Mangenius!—went 10-6 and got lit up by the Patriots in the playoffs.
And Brett Favre—not a new head coach, but last year’s new idea—swaggered to an 8-3 start, then limped to defeat in four of the final five. With that, the Mangenius era ended, in a flurry of tar and feathers.
So Rex Ryan is another fast starter. That doesn’t make him any different from those who’ve gone before. What sets him apart, not only for Jet fans but for a wider tribe of people who love a particular kind of football, is where he fits into another historical lineage: He is Buddy Ryan’s son, and he could be Buddy Ryan’s heir.
What is that inheritance? The elder Ryan went 55-55-1 as an NFL head coach, never winning a playoff game. Don’t dwell on the head-coaching record. John Gruden and Brian Billick have won Super Bowls. Buddy Ryan was only the defensive coordinator of the 1985 Bears (and the defensive line coach of the Jets team that beat the Colts in Super Bowl III). They carried him off the field after the Super Bowl, after the Bears had given up a total of 10 points in three playoff games.
Whenever a Buddy Ryan team lined up, you were going to see something happen. His defense was a conceptual revolution, attacking instead of reacting, players storming the backfield in unpredictable combinations and from all angles. Nearly 25 years later, as offenses spread wider and receivers keep multiplying, teams are still trying to run away from the ’85 Bears.
There's definitely something to this. I was calling for the Jets to hire Ryan even before Mangini was fired in no small part because of the education he got from his father. There's more to it, though. You could argue Groh learned from Bill Parcells, Edwards from Tony Dungy, and Mangini from Bill Belichick. You'd be right. A huge difference is the experience factor.
\We see it in the NFL all the time. Teams are looking for the next hot guy before anybody else notices them. They want to look as smart as the Steelers did when they unearthed Mike Tomlin. The problem is there aren't many Tomlin's out there. A lot of head coaches in this league are underqualified. Ryan's different. He learned his craft from the ground up and paid his dues. He's got a lot of experience in the league and got the job on his own merit, not based on what Dungy or Belichick thought of him. He came in with a plan because he prepared to be a head coach.
I think he's the real deal. Do you think Ryan is, or is he next Groh/Edwards/Mangini?