Lost In The Rubble, Rex Must Lead Jets Back

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The Jets have lost the road map. The swagger. They don’t know who they are. Or what they need to be. Key veterans are gone yet still Rex Ryan’s gang tried to return to what they once were on Sunday in Foxboro. That blast from the past only carried them so far. Rex Ryan may be the only one who can lead this team back to their winning ways. It is his team. Only Rex can remind these guys about who they are. Only Rex has the power to unite a locker room that lately has experienced the rumblings that are borne out the frustration of losing.

Rex needs to first and foremost, return to being himself. When was the last time Rex Ryan took a loss into the post game press conference and highlighted things that went well? “There were some encouraging signs” Ryan said following yesterday’s 30-21 defeat to the hated Patriots. There were? Rex, this was a game against Bill Belichick’s team. The guy whose rings you wouldn’t kiss. Moral victories are not part of team goals for any trip to Foxboro. Yesterday’s one that now has the Jets at 2-3, in third place of the AFC East, and reeling. Ryan has to stop worrying about congeniality. Yes the Jets must play better and talk is cheap, but this team thrives off of him. Who cares what Mike Francesa thinks? Who cares what Joe Namath or a Tony Dungy thinks? The team cares about what YOU think Rex.

Airing out dirty laundry in public as Santonio Holmes did weeks ago will also be a place where Ryan must lead. NOT BY CENSORING players uncharacteristically just because things are not going well. By being consistent in the message instead. “Hey, you wanna talk? go ahead. Back it up on the field though.”

The receivers according to Daily News, went to Rex and complained about Schotty last week. Rex denied it publicly but if the reports are true, then Ryan can go seek Plaxico Burress for his drops on Sunday after opening his mouth. You talk the talk, then walk the walk Plax. That’s leadership Rex.

If a new play caller IS the right direction, then Ryan must choose leadership over friendship. Tom Moore is part of the staff. So is Bill Callahan. Maybe the players DO have a point that a new approach would be a change that would help turn the page from the losses on offense of Tony Richardson, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith and Damien Woody. If the choice to stay put with Schotty is made, then all players need to zip it and produce when their number is called. Simple.

What about the defense? Many wonder where this top five group has gone as well. The defense used to carry Ryan’s Jets teams to the finish line. Well, the gameplan was great yesterday, despite Tom Brady’s three hundred plus yards and RB Ben Jarveuas Green Ellis 136 yards.

The D didn’t finish though. They couldn’t get the ball back to the offense down 27-21 with 7:00 left. THAT’S where Rex has to get after his group this week. Make them fifteen round fighters again. The ones who got the Jets the ball back LAST year when they made those fourth quarter come back. Who play the entire 60 minutes. That has to be Ryan’s message this week.

Perhaps Joe Namath hit on something when he said weeks back that the Jets may have felt invincible or anointed after their success of two years and possibly Ryan’s coddling. Maybe cracks in camaraderie that began with the many personnel changes this Summer have grown larger over the past month, and are now the bigger issue.

Whatever the culprit may be, this 2-3 start HAS TO falls on Rex’s desk because he is the only one who can fix it. HE moved the Jets organization away from self pity and built a winning mindset instead. HE talked Super Bowl. HE’s brought in HIS guys. HE can navigate this team out of the rubble. If heads need to roll or roles need to change, guess who must make those decisions? NOW. No more Mr. nice guy Rex.

  • http://@MarkSchiss Mark

    Great article, Joe. It’s time for Rex to take ownership of this situation and right the ship, or as Ian O’Connor put it last night, he will be the sinking ship. One thing I can remember is that each of the last two years, when Rex publically intervened in the offense, things got better. In 2009 it was the color coded wrist bands that were instituted when we were sitting at 4-6. Last year, if I remember correctly, Schottenheimer was under extreme pressure from the media (and Ryan) to get the offense going after the Miami game. That week at Pittsburgh was one of Schotty’s better games.

    We can only hope that Rex can reach deep down for this critical week. His tenure demonstrates that he can push the right buttons when the Jets reach the brink of disaster. This week is it…