TOJ Roundtable – Rex Ryan’s Future Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses what Rex Ryan needs to do over the second half of the season to keep his job

The Turn On The Jets Roundtable is back to debate issues surrounding the New York Jets. Make sure to give all of the writers a follow on Twitter and if there is a question you want to see us debate, leave it in the comment section!

What does Rex Ryan need to do over the second half of the season to keep his job?

Joe Caporoso – I’m generally a pro-Rex guy but I need to see more than 8-8 and getting blown out every other week to guarantee his return. There is a lack of offensive and secondary talent on this roster, I get that but if you are good enough to beat New England, Atlanta on the road and Buffalo you are good enough to avoid a 40 point loss to Cincinnati, a 25 point loss to Tennessee and a 13 point home loss to a putrid Pittsburgh team. The Jets were out-coached and not prepared in those games, particularly the recent Bengals rout. Rex must show that he can win back to back games at some point and avoid no-show blowouts the rest of the season. Beyond that, if he can get 2 out of 3 wins or even better, all 3 wins in the remaining AFC East games, it would go a long way to cementing a return. It is hard to justify firing a coach who goes 5-1 in his division.

Cole Patterson – Rex Ryan has already done much to improve his job security. Coaching up a young and inexperienced team to find unexpected success proved that he knows how to develop talent. Being able to adapt to an entirely new coaching staff has proved his willingness to evolve and established his long term viability as a head coach. Returning to his roots and focusing on defense, while letting the OC control the offense, proved that he is aware of his limitations.

Rex Ryan must exhibit these qualities through the second half of the season in order to keep his job. His players must never lose faith in him and they must continue to develop. Ryan must continue to work harmoniously with his new staff and to scheme the Jets to wins. If he is able to do all of this and keep the Jets competitive, his future with the Jets should not be in question.

Ryan’s fate should not come down to wins and losses, it should come down to how he manages the team he is given, as is his job. That said, if he manages the team well, a few more wins can be expected.

Mike O’Connor – Rex Ryan really kills me. He’ll direct an excellent gameplan en route to a stunning win, and then he’ll be stubborn and look completely unprepared on his way to a surprising loss in pathetic fashion. That has been the story-line this year, and many Jet fans ignore that this pattern has plagued the Jets to some extent in every season that he’s been here. It’s getting to the point where I’ve had enough. At the end of the day, brilliance on the defensive side of the ball can’t carry you above many significant coaching flaws everywhere else. Rex has to pick up momentum again and finally show some consistency, even if it just meaning beating the teams that he should be beating, to not see the surprise pink slip at the end of this season.  ven if he has surprised this season with a respectable record, the same patterns of wild inconsistency plague the team enough to keep him on watch, in my opinion.

Dalbin Osorio – Barring an implosion of epic proportions (i’m talking 0-8 the rest of the way), Rex Ryan will be, and should be, the coach of the New York Jets going forward. Mike Donnelly, in a piece on TOJ a couple of weeks ago, mentioned how Rex should get an extension right now. I agree 100%; Rex is the guy to lead this franchise.

Part of the reason Lovie Smith got fired, despite having more winning seasons than losing seasons and a Super Bowl appearance with Rex Grossman as his starter, is because he couldn’t find a way to beat the Packers the way Rex has beaten the Patriots. No one has beaten New England more than the Jets since Rex’s been hired. You can say that the Jets have gotten more opportunities, but let’s be real; the great equalizer in these matchups against the Hoodie and Brady hasn’t been an elite QB, a game changing RB, an all pro WR, or an elite pass rush. It has been Ryan.

Aside from beating the Patriots, Ryan has directed some of the most signature wins the franchise has ever seen and it’s incredible to think that the Jets have 1 losing season in 4 years with Rex despite an average collection of talent on the offensive side of the ball. I’d argue that the job he’s done this year, with a defense with poor safeties, mediocre CB play, average OLB play, and an offense led by a second round QB whose offensive weapons are a 2nd round pick, a 5th round pick, two street free agents that were just picked up off the scrap heap, an injury prone RB, an average RB at best, and a converted WR is better than the job he did his first two years because the defense and offense had so much more talent at that point.

Yet, here are the Jets currently the 7th seed in the AFC and a half game back of the Chargers for the 6th spot in the AFC. Rex still makes mistakes (the challenges and the stubbornness at the top of the list), but in order for him to keep his job I think 5-3 in the second half and the support of the locker room gets him an extension the day the New York Jets season ends. Now, let’s get a ****** snack.

Frank Giasone –

Dan Marcus – 

Connor RogersAfter entering the season with low expectations and head coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat, the Jets have made some noise around the league. A road win against the Falcons and a home win against the Patriots have been bright spots, but getting blown out in Cincinnati brought Rex and the Jets back to reality.

Right now, this is a young team with a lot of scattered talent. This is also a team with a lot of holes that need to be filled, not patched. Rex Ryan is partially at fault for both of these aspects of the team. He’s missed on draft picks but also hit on a lot of recent ones. At this point I think the Jets final record is not as important as the team defining themselves. If John Idzik sees a team with defined needs after this season, Rex should hang around.

On the other end, if Idzik sees a team that is a catastrophe that needs to be blown up, it is time for Rex to go. After eight games, Rex has shown Idzik the team is not as far off as once perceived. The secondary is clearly bad, along with the playmakers (or lack of), but the front seven has been better than ever under Rex.

Most importantly, the team is 2-1 in the division which includes a win over top rival New England. If Rex finds a way to beat the Bills one more time and the Dolphins twice, there is no reason for him to go. The best way to put it is: who will replace him? That replacement will not only have to beat the Patriots once, but twice a season for vast improvement to be shown. If they were kicked around in their own division under a new head coach, the entire fan base will be clamoring for Rex, who always finds a way to stay competitive even with limited talent on his roster.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Danish Jes

    My greatest fear is that Rex gets fired and picked up by the Pats… Imagine that. The Jets would never win the division. Ever.

  • mike

    connor is right. the question isn’t exclusively, “should rex keep his job?” the question is, “does anyone have a better idea?” until someone tells me who the next great coach of the jets is going to be, it seems like the alternative to keeping rex is rolling the dice on a new regime. without a convincing option for a new candidate, i’d prefer continuity.

    also, dude got the jets to the afc championship, TWICE. let the man work!

  • Lidman

    I think the most important question here is: If they fire Rex, who do they get to replace him?

    Is Bill Cowher coming back? He’s been out of the game 7yrs. Just check on how guys who’ve been out that long do when they return. It’s a grueling workload. Cowher makes great money, doing 1/10 of the work ( It’s not obvious he would be available.

    Jon Gruden wants to coach again. I get it, he did win a Superbowl. But his lifetime .540 winning pct, is basically the same as Rex’ .535 wining pct. What is it that he brings to the table that is a big upgrade over Rex, after 5 years of not coaching?

    Sure, we could give a shot to some hot college coach or coordinator, but they have no NFL track record; Rex does. Jim Harbaugh is the exception, not the rule-see Spurrier, Saban, Petrino. For every Mike McCarthy there is Wade Phillips, Ray Rhodes, and Josh McDaniels.

    Guys ‘play’ for Rex. Look at what’s going on in TB, even when NY struggled last year, nobody ever said anything disparaging about the coaching staff (like you’re seeing in TB). Rex admitted to ‘losing the locker room’ in ’11, but it didn’t look like TB does now, or Philly last year. Rex puts himself in the line of fire for his players. That’s leadership.

    I never played a high level of football. I get that the sport takes as much preparation as any, simply because of how many moving parts must work, in unison, for success. However, how come when a team gets beat, it’s always because ‘they weren’t prepared’? You can prepare all you want, but if your rookie QB throws a pair of pick 6s, it’s going to make any loss look worse than it is. Sometimes can’t we just say, geez, the other team played better today? You can prepare a great game plan, but if you have some physical errors early, you may have to scrap that plan. I think if this was a veteran team, like the NYG, you could certainly make a case for poor preparation and leadership. This is a young team, and I think the inconsistency is a bit more palatable.

    In 2009, the NYJ were 4-4, and then 4-6. They went on to finish 5-1. Yes, you can say Indy and Cincy didn’t play (if we play the ‘if’ game, then NE may not have won that first title and Eli may have 2 SB losses). However, all the NYJ could do was play who was in front of them. Rex got them ready to play and take advantage of their opportunity. On top of that, in both years he got his team to the Championship game, without ever playing a home game. Hopefully, we’ll get some consistency, for this team, in the 2nd half. History suggests it’s possible.

    The NYG held on to Tom Coughlin. Pittsburgh held on to Cowher. If prior to this year, Ryan had no history of success I could see calling for his job. He has; and now, even having had his best player taken from him, and being saddled with another rookie starting QB, with what most consider a group of below average offensive weapons, he’s succeeding far more than most expected. He is doing this playing in the media capital, of the world, where nearly every pundit was calling him a ‘dead man walking’. Has he wilted under that pressure? Has he learned from his prior mistakes? He’s toned down the rhetoric, but he still told us he really ‘liked this team’. I think he’s shown us why. Sure, he makes some rash challenges and he can make intersting in game decisions. I’ll bet most fan bases say similar things about their HC too.

    If Bill Cowher wants to coach here, I can see letting Rex go. If Mike McCarthy decides he wants a change, I can see going after him too (although I wonder how good he’d be without A Rogers). Outside of those 2, it’s not obvious to me there is someone emminently more qualified, or guarantees the NYJ a Superbowl win, in the near future, than the guy who’s on the sidelines now. Oh, I have no interest in Belewhatever…he quit on us once.

  • David

    I agree for the most part with Joe Caporoso; 8-8 is not getting it done in the NFL; win one week, lose the next is not getting it done in the NFL. The problem with the Jets is that they have not changed one bit under Rex Ryan in all his years with the Jets– They still have, with an occasional game like Cincinnati, a very good defense. However, the offense is still as inconsistent as it was Rex’s first year with the NY Jets.

    And people keep harping on 2 AFC Title Game appearances; how long does that keep someone his job? He went 8-8 2 years ago with a team that faltered down the stretch and he lost the “pulse” of the locker room; he went 6-10 last year with a team that quite honestly gave up the last two weeks of the season; and this year’s team is a maddening, inconsistent 4-4 team that one week can compete with anyone and the next week looks like they could barely beat Jacksonville.

  • Lidman

    David..see your points, but who do you replace him with. More, don’t you have to qualify what ‘getting it done’ is? If Jax went 8-8 this year, wouldn’t that constitute success? I think TBs 0-7 is much worse than JAX 0-8. I think NYJ 4-4 is much better than Dallas’ 4-4. Before the season began, what did you think the NYJ record would be at season’s end?

    When Rex was hired, in ’09. MetLife Stadium was just about to start construction. Woody/Tanny went out and spent on F/A, in an attempt to win quick, to sell seats. The past 2yrs, the NYJ got old, on defense, and had no offense. If Rex’ ‘bad years’ are 8-8 and 6-10, those aren’t that bad, just look around the league. I think the Jets do better than 8-8 this year. I also think 8-8 would be a huge improvement. They have a ton of draft picks and much more salary cap maneuverability moving forward. The needle is pointing up folks.

  • KAsh

    All that matters is Idzik. Rex can go 8-0 in the last eight games, obliterate his opponents in the playoffs, and become the first coach in the modern era to take his team to a Super Bowl with home field advantage, and Idzik could still fire him. He would take flak in that case, but Idzik is entitled to pick his own coach.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s assume Idzik is evaluating Rex and will extend him if he feels Rex is the best option going forward. A good indication of Rex’s ability would be how his team has fared. Defensively, after losing a starting DE, starting NT, two starting LBs, two starting safeties, and the best corner in the league, Rex still has a great defense. He is extremely capable of coaching up players on that side of the ball. Offensively, the team lost their leading rusher, two starting guards, their #1 TE, their veteran starting QB, and had one of the most underwhelming WR corps in the league. But it has gone from being one of the worst offenses last year to somewhere in the middle of the pack. The running game is still plodding. The rookie QB is erratic. The wide receiver play has improved, but is not close to great, yet. And we never really replaced our #1 TE. But the numbers are way up from last year. Rex (and Marty) have done what they can with limited options and limited cap space, and the team they fielded is 4-4 when 2-6 was deemed optimistic.

    Gamewise, the gauntlet (weeks 5-9) is still the barometer. I said before the season that 2 wins in these five games would be the threshold for Rex staying or going. And we have two (close) wins and two (blowout) losses. If Rex can win this Sunday, I think there should be no more doubts: Rex is able to coach an inferior team to victory. The victories were so close, it would be nice to get some statement wins later in the year (i.e. sweeping Buffalo and Miami, Carolina, Baltimore) but a 3-2 record against some of the most competent teams we will face this year would satisfy me.

  • John C

    I believe he’s still under contract next year, so the decision could be stayed, if this year’s result is “middling”. At the beginning of the year, I thought the record was less important than how they got there. The 40 point games against the defensive mastermind come far too often (and 35 by Tenessee is like 45 by NE/Cincy). The Giants have not given up a TD in 10 Quarters! Evidently (according to a NY Post article), at half-time of the Chicago game, the players convinced Fewell they need to simplify – he agreed – maybe Rex needs to simplify a bit as well.

  • Lidman

    John C…14 of Cincy points were on pick 6s. Smith also fumbled in end zone against Tennessee, and threw 2 INTs that gave them field position inside the 30. As for the Giants, they played a Minny team, starting a QB who didn’t know any checks and had 16 overthrows. As for Philly, they didn’t score, a TD, the week before against Dallas, so it’s as much them as it is the Giants.

  • John C

    Good points Lidman – I don’t think Rex would (or should) be canned (unless they finish 6-10 or 5-11), but, whatever the circumstances, a couple more real clunkers might create some indecision in Idzik’s mind.

  • Lidman

    I hope that doesn’t happen. It would be nice to be in the thick of it coming down the stretch.

  • Mark Phelan

    Judging Rex on how well he did with available talent gets him extended with a raise.

    There are questions of style and focus which keep the question alive.

    Does Rex have the personal discipline to take a backseat to the interests of the Team?

    Is Rex on top of the details of a game, of the condition of his players?

    Is Rex able to make adjustments?

    I think this year has shown considerable change in Rex’s demeanor, and I think this has been to the benefit of the team.

    Idzik and Rex should sit down for a detailed evaluation of their performance(s) and Rex should get an extension.

  • David

    @ Lidman– Isn’t the goal of every team to make the playoffs and play for Championships? Rex has had 2 straight years of missed playoffs and this year, at 4-4, is possibly looking at his 3rd straight losing season. That gets coaches fired, or at least it does in most organizations.

    The Jets the last 3 years under Ryan have just been way too inconsistent, BOTH Offensively and Defensively.

    How do you look so good against Atlanta and New England, but then come out and lay clunkers against Tennessee and Cincinnati, and look DREADFUL, especially offensively, against an 0-4 Pittsburgh team?

  • KAsh


    Unless you changed the definition of “losing,” Rex has had only one losing season, last year when he had the tandem of the worst QB, worst WRs, and the worst OC that year. I always thought Rex hired Sparano so he deserved criticism for that, but I recently heard differently. But make no mistake that this was one of the least talented rosters because of all the picks traded away by the Tannenbaum regime and all the veteran dinosaurs let go by Idzik.

    This defense was supposed to be inconsistent. You have seven new starters, two of them rookies, and three others in just their second year. The leader od the defense is in his third year and Harris is the only starter that was on the team before 2010. They outperformed themselves the whole year, especially against the run and their performance against the pass was hindered mostly by Cromartie not having a Pro Bowl year like everybody thought. This team was going to give up big plays every so often. It is amazing and a testament to Rex’s genius that the defense has been so stout.

    Offensively, it is the same story, complicated by the limited cap space. The big offensive signing this year was a guard. (Goodson was a quiet signing for very little money.)

    Would you really gut the whole team when it has started showing progress (made possible by the novel idea of holding onto picks) and choose the devil you don’t know over the one you do?

  • Lidman

    David..young teams, with young QBs will be inconsistent. Hey, Cincy tore the Jets apart last Sunday, and then looked terrible against Miami last night. If I could figure that out, I’d be living in Vegas.

    I agree with Kash on a number of points. As I’ve said, I think upon Rex’ arrival the NYJ ‘went for it’ by loading up on f/a, trading draft picks for expensive players and mortgaging their future (which we saw in ’11 and ’12). I simply go back to my original statement: If you’re going to fire Rex, who’s proven he can coach and develop players, especially defensive players, who are you bringing in, that immediately gives you a better chance of winning?