Just like the Jets, I have nothing to play for (or pick for) this week. My 1-2 record in Week 16 brought my yearly record to a stellar 15-31-2. I always thought this column would net some bad results, but even I didn’t think it would be this bad. Again, sorta like the Jets.
With just three days left until the Jets’ 2012 season mercifully comes to an end, the reports and rumors are swirling about anything and everything this point. The latest report – which came from Manish Mehta of The Daily News, who operates only slightly more in certainty and facts than the Mayans or that Rapture dude – has Rex Ryan wanting out if owner Woody Johnson doesn’t open up the checkbook and fix the team’s problems on offense. In order for the Jets to really change things on offense, this means changes at offensive coordinator, starting quarterback, and probably about four of five out of the 11 starting offensive players total.
Of course, this makes plenty of sense. Rex Ryan isn’t dumb (well, I’m not exactly so sure about that, but…). He knows that if the Jets bring back both Tony Sparano, Mark Sanchez and don’t make any significant personnel changes on offense, then the 2013 Jets will quite closely resemble the 2012 Jets. If that happens, he’ will likely be fired after next season. So Rex Ryan is crying to ownership to fix the offense or just fire him now, because what the hell? He’d rather go blabber on ESPN for a season then take over as the Head Coach in Detroit in 2014 than deal with another minute of coaching this Jets team.
Maybe I’m the only one laughing and shaking my head here. Does Rex Ryan, and do his staunch supporters, fail to see that he’s also responsible for the deterioration of this team, of the team’s offense? I know, I know “Mike Tannenbaum is the GM! He picks the players while Rex shows up in August and is like ‘Wait, we have LaRon Landry? WHO KNEW?!'” “Rex is a defensive coach!” “Rex never wanted Tebow!” “Rex is the next coming of Tom Landry if he’d only be surrounded by great talent and great offensive coaching!”
The Jets’ demise from contenders to mess is an overall organizational failure. Stop pretending that Rex Ryan isn’t a part of that. He’s the head coach of the team. Doesn’t anybody else find it hilarious that – if true – the head coach of a football team would be begging his owner to help him fix the offense? If the Giants’ defense became all-time bad, would Tom Coughlin cry to John Mara to fix the side of the ball he knows nothing about? Oh wait, that would never happen because Tom Coughlin, while an offensively-trained coach, is also a FOOTBALL coach (much like Tim Tebow is, you know, a FOOTBALL player), who has a damn good feel about every aspect of the entire sport. Thing is, the Giants defense would never get that bad under Coughlin, because he’d see it coming a mile away and start fixing it before it got to the point where it could cripple his team. Rex Ryan has zero feel for offense, and something that’s malicious in the NFL in 2012, he has zero feel for the quarterback position. Have you watched how Rex Ryan has handled this QB disaster in 2012?
Okay, Tim Tebow was thrown on him by ownership so the Jets could steal some headlines. We all understand that. Then how come after the Jets made the Tebow trade, Rex talked up Tebow’s potential in the Wildcat and all that? Remember Rex proclaiming that there could be games where he’d get 15-20 snaps in the Wildcat? Here’s how a smart coach who had a clue about how important your quarterback is in the NFL would have handled the Tebow mess from the start:
“Tim’s a really versatile player who is our clear back up quarterback. The great thing about having Tim is that you’re able to use him in a few different ways than you could with other backups. He could add a wrinkle to our offense and we may be able to use him in certain special teams situations too. And if Mark ever unfortunately gets hurt and can’t go, we can start a guy who has won games recently in the league.”
No proclamations about Tebow being a major part of the team. No mapping out snap totals. No public endangering of Mark Sanchez’s job. For a guy whose greatest strength as a coach might have been his way to play the media to his team’s advantage, Rex Ryan couldn’t have handled the Tebow mess any worse. And I personally think that the way this QB situation was handled all season is a huge reason the Jets will finish with a losing record this season.
If you follow my columns at all you’ll recall that I think Rex Ryan is a defensive coordinator masquerading as a head coach. The Ground-And-Pound ethos is an archaic bunch of garbage that no title-winner in the past 10 years has subscribed to. The league is different these days, and there is no place at the summit of an NFL sideline for a guy who has no feel for modern offense. Your defense better be the ’85 Bears or the 2000 Ravens in order to win with a middling offense. We know the Jets defense is good but it’s nowhere near all-time good.
And after all that, I accept and am okay with Ryan being back next season as head coach. If I were running the team he would be gone, but I’m not going to act like he’s Rich Kotite or something. The Jets have made deep playoff runs under his lead (although I think the case can be made that he took over Eric Mangini’s teams and the more and more he’s gotten his handprints on this franchise, it’s gotten worse). The idea of fixing the Jets’ offense is the right one. Rex can coach a defense that’s good enough to win a title even with mediocre talent. The Jets need to spend money on an offensive rebuild to have any chance of being successful.
Ryan has the right idea. It’s just amazing to me that he has to ask his owner to do the fixing for him. But he needs the help. He can’t do it himself. He doesn’t know enough about it. That’s not a good place to be in the NFL in in 2012, 2013 and beyond.
And now, mercifully, the final picks of the season:
Eagles +7 at Giants – I’m more rooting for this than anything, okay.
Packers -3 at Vikings – The Packers are playing for something. Oh yeah, also, nobody is really talking about the Packers, who are going to win the Super Bowl this season.
Bears -3 at Lions – Remember when the Lions were good? That was fun.
Bonus Non-NFL Bet of the Week (Record: 6-9-1) – Alabama -10 vs. Notre Dame. Notre Dame sucks.
Thanks for reading all season. I promise my picks next year will be not worse.
Happy 2013. May you break all your resolutions by January 8th.