New York Jets Debate Club: Is Rex Ryan The Right Man for the Job?

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The New York Jets unlikely roller coaster ride to December relevancy came to an end yesterday with a Baltimore win. Understandably, the focus of the fan-base has already shifted to the offseason. WIth over $40 million in cap space and a full stock of draft picks, change is inevitable. However, much of the conversation has switched to Rex Ryan and the Jets future at head coach. The debate over wether Rex remains the head man of the franchise will dominate the landscape until a decision is made, one way or another. While John Idzik and Woody Johnson have likely already made their decision, it is important for the public to understand the debate, the reasoning, behind the impending decision. With that in mind, we at Turn On the Jets offer an argument/counter-argument format to best expound the various cases. Dalbin Osorio will argue in favor of extending Rex Ryan and Cole Patterson will argue for change.

For further reading on the head coaching debate, see Joe Caporoso and Dan Marcus‘ inspired debate: The Future Is Bright But Should Rex Ryan Be Part Of It?


Arguments Against Rex’s Return:

Cole: Rex doesn’t develop talent and, therefore, is not the right guy to develop a young QB.

Dalbin: When we discuss other franchises, the individual development of a player is not assigned to their position coaches. It is, instead, attributed to the head coach. Under that logic, Rex has overseen the development of: Jeremy Kerley, Bilal Powell, Austin Howard, Matt Slauson, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, Darrelle Revis, Mo Wilkerson, Ledger Douzable, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Quentin Coples, Kenrick Ellis. That’s a very talented bunch. It is lopsided on defense, for sure, but to say that he has failed to develop talent is just incorrect.

Cole: Rex’s teams are 1-13 in their last 14 games after a win, a sure sign that they can’t handle prosperity and are inconsistent.

Dalbin: The Jets were 7-2 after wins in 2009, 9-4 after wins in 2010, 3-3 after wins in 2011, 1-5 in 2012, and 0-6 so far this year. For his career, Rex’s teams are 20-20 after wins, a .500 record. His ability to string together back to back wins can be directly attributed to the Jets talent level. The Jets had more talent in Rex’s first three season as head coach, so it was easier to overcome the deficiencies at the quarterback position. However, the play of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith was compounded by a loss of talent on both sides of the ball and made it extremely difficult to be consistent. This year, the Jets are an inexperienced team (starting five rookies). Despite their expected struggles, Rex has won. If Idzik can renew the talent level on the Jets, there is no reason to think that Rex can’t get back to his winning ways.

Cole: The Jets have tuned Rex out. A young team like the Jets needs a disciplinarian to ensure accountability.

Dalbin: The Jets will undoubtedly bring in veteran talent for 2014. Willie Colon stood up and said that Rex was the reason he signed with the Jets. Bart Scott, Ed Reed, Jim Leonherd, Ladainian Tomlinson, Derrick Mason, and a host of others have cited Rex as their reason for choosing the Jets. Before Rex got here, you couldn’t pay guys enough money to sign here. Rex has made the Jets a desirable team to play for. That trait cannot be overstated entering an offseason that will see Idzik armed with $40-50M in cap space and a cabinet full of draft picks. You want a guy that players want to play for. Rex is that guy.

Arguments For Rex’s Return:

Dalbin: Rex is a defensive genius and not bringing him back will set the defense back drastically. 

Cole: Rex Ryan is one of the most brilliant defensive minds in the game today. He can scheme around defensive weaknesses and highlight an individual player’s strengths. However, the Jets have declined in total defense every year under Ryan: 1st in 2009, 3rd in 2010, 5th in 2011, 8th in 2012, and finally 12th in 2013. There is no absolute reason behind this decline but it must be acknowledged. There are plenty of defensive coordinators out there who can keep the Jets defense middling (which they are now). If Ryan’s best attribute has become a non factor, in a league where offense wins the day, perhaps it is time for a philosophical change at head coach.

Dalbin: Ryan brought the team to Two AFC championship games, minutes from the Super Bowl. He can do it again.

Cole: Ryan came to New York and completely rejuvenated and rebranded a struggling franchise. He brought an attitude to the Jets that had been missing for an eternity. His exotic blitz packages confounded offenses and a dominant O-line helped move the chains. They almost road the ground and pound train all the way. The next year, the Jets had an upgraded passing attack with Santonio Holmes and Ladanian Tomlinson and made it to within five points of a Super Bowl.

After a 20-12 record in Ryan’s first two season, the Jets have gone 20-26 in the last three. In each of those three years, the Jets have missed the playoffs. The reasons for this decline are plentiful but what it comes down to is offensive ineptitude. Ryan has failed to prove himself capable of developing an offense and, as the 2011-2013 Jets validate, offense wins games. The defense can be absolutely dominant but if the offense doesn’t put up points, it is all for naught.

Dalbin: The hiring of a new coaching staff is tedious and rebuilding can take years. Let Rex keep working with what he built.

Cole: The process of rebuilding a team is difficult and it seems like the Jets have been doing so for decades. However, if Idzik and Johnson are convinced that Ryan cannot continue to win in New York, there is no point in holding on. Yes, there are some good pieces in place but Ryan has not won with them. The Jets have had moderate success but have nothing to show for it. They have not consistently improved. In fact, they have gotten worse. Ryan has been giving many chances but, for whatever reason, has failed to field a winner in three seasons. There is something to be said for continuity but if your head coach isn’t winning you games, it is time for a change.

18 thoughts on “New York Jets Debate Club: Is Rex Ryan The Right Man for the Job?

  1. Great piece!!! I’m Pro-Rex too. He has most of the attributes you want in the head coach. He’s not to blame for the past two seasons either.

    I think the only other coach I would consider besides Rex next year would be Ken Whisenhunt. He went through exactly what Rex is going through now his last two years in Arizona, unjustifiable blame.

  2. Why does everyone think that if a new coach came in, that it would take years for things to work out? If memory serves me correctly, Indianapolis 2 years ago was the worst team in the NFL, gutted the roster (including Peyton Manning), and made the playoffs the following year?

    I just wonder if it is time for a new coach, new philosophy, and a new atmosphere. Think of what the atmosphere was like when Rex first arrived; it was a complete 180 from before.

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  4. Dave…I think Andrew Luck is the sole reason for Indy making the playoffs. He’s the exception, not the rule.

    I think the difference between now and when Rex first got here is Mangini, while bright, couldn’t communicate/get the best out of his players. Second, the talent level on the early Jet teams was better, his 2nd 2 years, there was a talent drop off, from bad drafting, poor cap management and injuries.

    If the NYJ win 7 games this year, that’s an uptick. Idzik drafted his QB, and Rex went with him. The defense is developing into a good unit. I think you can expect the pass rush to be even better next year, which alone will improve the secondary. Milliner and Allen are likely to take steps forward too. They have some cap room and a ton of picks with which they should be able to add some offensive skill position talent. Rex has shown he can win with a young QB, if there is talent around him.

  5. Both sides make tremendous points. When it comes to Rex, I’m on a balance beam right in the middle. At the end of the day though, I hope he stays.

  6. As a casual fan, I’ve actually enjoyed watching the Jets this year. Rex did not do his usual bluster of promising a super bowl berth and everyone knew this would be rebuilding year.

    At times the team showed promise and there seem to be a lot of good young players who are coming along.

    Rex has done a good job in bringing this group forward and I hope he gets another shot next year.

    Frank

  7. You guys have been parroting this “record after losses” statistic as though it means something.

    Not only does this stat not really mean much overall (teams that win more have more wins after wins and also more wins after losses than do teams that don’t win as much) but you could just as easily make the point this season that we are 5-2 after losses, indicating that Rex has done a masterful job of getting our players to respond to a loss. Which also doesn’t make sense.

  8. Not sure how it doesn’t matter that you cannot win 2 games in a row, basically means you will never be better than 8-8.

  9. I would guess that he stays as well. Next year I would judge Rex on two criteria:

    1) Do we improve our turnover differential. This is one area he has not shown promise in improving, no matter how dominant the defense.

    2) Do we improve our offensive production. This really shouldn’t be to hard to achieve considering what this years group has accomplished.

    Hopefully we win the next two games so this story doesn’t take on life during the off season.

  10. YOU CAN’T BLAME REX FOR A TURNOVER QB, BUT YOU CAN BLAME HIM FOR NOT DEVELOPING AND OFFENSIVE LINE, THAT IS, AND SHOULD BE THE FIRST THING YOU LOOK FOR NEXT PICKS, AND SOME RECEIVERS THAT KNOW HOW TO GO FOR THE BALL & KNOW HOW TO HOLD ON TO THE BALL.

    OVERALL REX RYAN HAS BEEN AN ASSET TO THE NEW YORK JETS, LOOKING FOR A NEW COACH AT THIS POINT CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON A LOT THAT WAS BUILT ALREADY, I SAY GIVE HIM TILL NEXT YEARS OVER, AND THEN DO WHAT WE HAVE TO DO.

    I’M A 50 YEAR JET FAN, I’VE BEEN THROUGH IT ALL, THE UPS & DOWNS, THE DAMN REBUILDING, & REBUILDING, & REBUILDING…
    WE JET FANS ARE TIRED OF THE REBUILDING EVERY YEAR, GET A GOOD GROUP OF GUYS AND STICK WITH THEM, THAT’S HOW I FEEL ABOUT REX RYAN…
    HE’S A GOOD GUY, STICK WITH HIM !!!

  11. What we need to ask , is there someone better then Rex out there? Getting rid of Rex is easy and would be understood. However replacing him you would want an upgrade so to speak. I dunno whats out there in terms of coaches but theres not a lot of harm in holding out until the right one comes about. In the mean time you give rex a better and more talented team and see what he can do.

    Talent does go a long way , if the team gets better it may be able to help Rex’s weakness. I also like to believe that Rex will and does learn from his mistakes. He’s not gonna lie about knowing the Offense but with Marty running it he doesn’t have to pay much mind anyway. Most head coaches don’t.

    I guess I’m saying I’m in favor for keeping Rex.

  12. I will just say this: a fanbase usually knows when its coach is done, as it happens when his failures have resulted in misery for the team and anyone that cheers for it.

  13. stock the team with talent and give Rex one more year. if we still see no improvement then it’s time to move on.

  14. I think when you look at the Jets in general, something is not right across the board. I know these are NFL team, but a game at home against the Cleveland Browns should NOT be one where people are talking that the Jets could very easily lose. A game against the Browns is one that the Jets should have “in the bag” by the 4th quarter. Even though we won, it was the same way with the game against Oakland; that is not a game at home that ANYONE should be thinking the Jets could lose.

    That is why I wonder a lot about the state of the NY Jets.

  15. I’ve been a long time Jet fan and I do like what Rex brings to the team. I know there have ups and downs but to start all over again with another new coach, I just think its going to tick off the fan base even more. Rex can’t make the receivers catch the ball, nor can he make Gino not throw INT’s, he can coach most of the time. There are occasions where he does miss the mark, especially with the likes of Milliner. But, it’s easy for me to say cause I’m just sitting home on my sofa watching. There needs to be changes, but it starts with the players that are on this roster.

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