The Future Is Bright But Should Rex Ryan Be Part Of It?

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The below article was originally submitted by Dan Marcus and inspired editor Joe Caporoso to leave a response at the bottom in italics. Later in the week, our Cole Patterson and Dalbin Osorio will debate the Rex Ryan question as well, which promises to be a dominant one over the next month or so.

There was a point yesterday when I thought the Jets would actually pull it out right after “Riverboat Ron” essentially spat in the face of the offense and the defense for that matter and the momentum was shifting in a big way, culminated by a Sheldon “Fridge”-ardson Touchdown. However, in the grand fashion of the Jets, they proceeded to throw up all over themselves and turned a three-point game into a 17-point deficit before you could even blink. In a way, it was an all-too-fitting end to a season that many thought to be doomed before it ever started but somehow, despite a fundamental lack of talent, they put themselves in a position to contend for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

Now, somehow we’re supposed to feel disappointed and essentially this season serves as a microcosm of Rex Ryan’s tenure as Head Coach. Somehow, Rex manages to find a way to get the most out of the talent he has for as long as he can, a victim of his own success creating expectations born from unexpected early success. Think about his first two years, coming within a half of the Super Bowl each year and from that moment on the bar for him and his young Quarterback was set just as about as high it could have been.

After achieving such a high level of success in those first two seasons, it was inevitable that it would be “all down hill from there.” Due to his early success, the front office was convinced that Rex could coach anyone regardless of how big their personality or off-the-field issues. The list of such unsavory characters is long: Antonio Cromartie, Joe McKnight, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, etc. Putting all of those personalities on the same roster regardless of talent or perceived talent was bound to fail eventually, a ticking time bomb of sorts. The bomb went off at the end of 2011 and the Jets have been trying to pick the metaphorical shrapnel out of their bum ever since. They have quietly put together a solid foundation to build off since on the defensive side of the ball and are finally on the verge of getting out from under some bad and hastily-given contracts on the offensive side of the ball and will finally have the means to add some talent to a unit that hasn’t really had any to speak of since 2010.

The struggles of this team over the past two and a quarter seasons can be attributed to mismanagement by the front office both in the draft and in free agency since the lockout was lifted in the Summer of 2011 and the truncated free agency period that ensued soon after. The flirtation with Nnamdi Asomougha allowed Brad Smith to be scooped up by the Bills and left the Jets to go back to Antonio Cromartie “hat in hand” to address the Cornerback position. In that same off-season, they allowed high-character guys like Jerricho Cotchery leave, choosing instead to invest in a much older malcontent Wide Receiver who didn’t even last six weeks with the team, They chose to pay another malcontent Wide Receiver, Santonio Holmes $50 million when no one else would have approached that number. They opted to pay Plaxico Burress, fresh off his self-inflicted jail sentence, more money than Braylon Edwards ultimately received from the 49ers despite the fact that Burress hadn’t played a snap of football in two years and Edwards was the team’s leading receiver the year before.

The cherry on top of the incompetence sundae that the Mike Tannenbaum regime was concocting on the offensive side of the ball was the contract he gave career-backup, Wayne Hunter to be the team’s starting Right Tackle. In retrospect, the season was doomed from the start considering the motley crew that the Jets assembled around their young and at the time, ascending Quarterback and despite this, Rex managed to do what he always does and coach the team to an 8-5 record in striking distance of the playoffs. The collapse that ensued has left this offense in shambles in terms of talent for the past two seasons and if the offense is semi-competent the last two seasons, the Jets are probably in the playoffs each year.

However, here we are for the third straight year, watching other people’s teams go into January in a soft AFC while we assess who’s to blame and what needs to be done to fix it. The answer is: not as much as you think because the mistakes of the previous regime are finally about to be washed away when the Jets inevitably cut Santonio Holmes without looking back and getting out from the “olive branch” deal they gave Mark Sanchez. Couple that with the fact that the team once again has a full complement of draft picks and a significant amount of cap room, this team can become a legitimate contender in a hurry as long as John Idzik and company don’t drop the ball like their predecessors and begin to address the offense in a big way.

The 2013 season was as good as anyone could have expected it to be and in fact, it was probably slightly better than that because given how daunting the early schedule looked, this day could have come a lot earlier. Instead, Rex and crew overcame another turnover-prone Quarterback and a generally inconsistent offense to make Jets fans think a return to the playoffs was an actual possibility, when in all reality this was a transitional/rebuilding year. If you ask me, the 2013 Jets give you a lot to look forward to with a young defensive core, especially along the Defensive Line that will only figure to get better with time, Hopefully, other young players like Dee Milliner, Brian Winters, Antonio Allen, Demario Davis, and especially can show some significant growth next season but this team should only get better with time. For my money, the wins against Atlanta, New Orleans, and especially the Patriots made the journey worthwhile.

This team had (and still has) a lot of fight in them, despite the fact that many projected them to be a hopeless last-place team (cough, ESPN). If that wasn’t obvious just look at how the Defense played for most of the day yesterday, standing tall in the Red Zone multiple times like they had done all season, keeping the team in the game when the Offense faltered. However, all the time spent bailing out the Offense early in the season was bound to catch up with them at some point and it did but they still fought until the clock hit 0:00 in Carolina. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, 2013 was a step in the right direction and I think the fan base and the front office alike would be best served by taking the advice of The Eagles and “Learn to Be Still” because they are closer than any of us even realize.

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I don’t disagree with some of the points made by you, Dan. This season has been a funner than expected ride at times, thanks to a few upset victories. There is a terrific young defensive line in place and a few other pieces spread throughout the roster who have long term potential. Ultimately, I don’t see this team as one that overachieved. The ESPN ranking was a troll move that was based on generating a response, not on reality. Nobody should have thought this was a 2-3 win team after they managed 6 wins last season with a worse overall roster. Ultimately, they are going to be the 7-9 or 8-8 team that many of us thought they’d be.

I’m not sold on bringing Rex Ryan back. There is a very fair argument you can make (as you did above) for giving him another chance and I will be far from devastated if that happens. Yet, Rex cannot be absolved for a big chunk of the blame for the team’s struggles the past 33 games and he is far from irreplaceable.

As is outlined here, Rex was pushing harder than anybody to bring Wayne Hunter back on a new contract (actually getting a tattoo to emphasize the point). The same goes for Santonio Holmes, who he made a captain, in a disastrous move for the chemistry of his team. He pushed for and vouched for Derrick Mason who went up in flames. Rex’s loyalty is an ongoing problem that clouds his football judgement. Outside of free agency, he pushed the team to draft John Conner and Scotty McKnight despite strong recommendations against it from his scouting department.

Rex’s player development has been tremendous on the defensive line (Wilkerson, Harrison, Richardson are shining examples). Outside of that? It has been average at best. Since he is a Head Coach (despite giving his Offensive Coordinator full autonomy…another issue), let’s look at all the draft picks since he took over.

Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene busted despite full confidence from Rex. Kyle Wilson is a middle of the road nickel corner. The Ducasse, Conner and Joe McKnight picks were all disasters. Muhammad Wilkerson is an All-Pro. Kenrick Ellis is a rotational player. Jermey Kerley and Bilal Powell are nice pieces on offense. Greg McElroy and Scotty McKnight are both off the team. Quinton Coples has flashed and has a bright future. Stephen Hill had a very poor first two seasons. Demario Davis tends to be a touch overrated by Jets fans and remains an okay overall starting linebacker (he is ranked bottom 5 in the NFL in coverage for linebackers). Terrance Ganaway, Jordan White and Robert T. Griffin are out of the NFL. Josh Bush doesn’t contribute. Antonio Allen was putting together a strong sophomore season and was an ascending player on the team and was then inexplicably benched the past five weeks by Ryan for an ineffective Ed Reed.

Rex is responsible for the whole team and the culture created around it, which isn’t conducive to offensive success. His defense has went from elite to great to good to middle of the road this season. I don’t doubt his ability to scheme but the Jets defense isn’t going to fall off a cliff if he leaves (they are only 13th in the league right now and putrid against the pass). Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison aren’t going to forget how to play football if Rex does leave.

The rest of the unit is in shambles. Rex wanted Dawan Landry. He’s been average to below average. He botched the other safety spot by benching Allen. He has stuck with Antonio Cromartie all year despite him breaking down and being completely ineffective. Dee Milliner has had a discouraging rookie season and there are valid fears he could turn into Kyle Wilson 2.0. They are average at best at linebacker and still haven’t found a consistent pass rusher off the edge since Rex arrived.

People say it is impossible to name somebody who could do better than Rex. This team is 12-21 in their last 33 games. 1-13 in their last 14 games after a win. 3-14 on the road since the middle of the 2011 season. They haven’t beat a team on the road with a winning record since November of 2011.

It isn’t about coming up with a big flashy name that has a longer resume than Rex. It is about potentially finding the right and new fit. The Harbaugh brothers had zero NFL head coaching experience before being hired. Same with Sean Payton. Same with Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians, Marc Trestman and plenty of others who are having success this year. Before Rex was hired, I’m sure many Jets fans didn’t know that much about him and wouldn’t have been impressed by his resume.

There is a very open debate about bringing Rex back and it is important to consider everything when discussing it. Most people have their mind made up but I would call the decision far from a slam dunk either way.

47 thoughts on “The Future Is Bright But Should Rex Ryan Be Part Of It?

  1. I have been a Jet season ticket holder since 1978. I have seen many coaches come & go.

    Rex Ryan is the Coach that will get the NY Jets their next Super Bowl. I am convinced of that!

    Since the back to back AFC Championship Seasons… the talent level on Offense has gone down hill. Blame the large Bad Contracts that were dolled out and blame the bad draft picks.

    Also, Blame the FACT that the Front Office could NOT draft a Franchize QB since Chad Pennington was shown the exit.

    That is a FRONT OFFICE ISSUE NOT Coaching.

    Bottom Line… If the Jets FIRE Rex I am done as a season ticket holder. Giving UP my tickets and seat licensing. I will stay home and enjoy the continuing misery!!!!

  2. Joe, I appreciate your commitment to being an objective journalist, but at this point, you now simply seem committed to sticking with your anti Rex position because you don’t want to be seen as a ‘color me green’ Jet fan.

    I don’t think Rex has been a great coach. I think he’s been a good coach. I think he’s also developing and I think patience is often the best course of action. You dump Rex now, you’re likely going to have growing pains. Jim Harbaugh had been a HC for 6-7 years before the NFL came calling and he inherited a roster with a ton of 1st round NFL talent. Sean Payton had Drew Brees. Chuck Pagano, really? The guy barely coached last year (to no fault of his) and Indy has been up and down this year, in a very weak division. Mark Trestman is 8-6? I think Arians has been good, but were his first 2 years any better than Rex’?

    To some of your other points:
    -when Woody went down, Hunter filled in well, so going with him was wrong, but it wasn’t an obvious error in judgement based on their cap situation and the way he played in the playoffs the year before
    -I agree on Holmes. I never liked him and thought Rex was blinded by the times he beat him, at Balt, with Pittsburgh. Holmes can be good, but he needs a strong QB personality to manage him and Sanchez wasn’t in position to do that.
    -Conner was a 5th rounder and McKnight a 7th rounder..I get that they were misses, but those aren’t disasters.
    -Kyle Wilson isn’t a 1st round talent, but go back and look at what everyone said about him, he was a top 3 CB on everyone’s board…drafting is inexact, so yes, the Jets missed on him, but so did everyone else.
    -D Davis is a small school LB, in his 2nd year and first starting…everyone doesn’t step in, like a Kuechly, and be a star right away…give him time to develop, he has the tools..go back and look at players taken after him, who’d the Jets miss on to get him? He’s got speed, can tackle and a tremendous motor. Overrated seems a bit tough, in my book…he’s in his 2nd year.
    -Other than Vlad, most of the other guys were 5th rounders or worse..it’s those guys that pull down the average career number down..he found/developed Harrison…Ellis is a ‘rotational player’ because of how well Harrison has been developed. Sanchez never had a decent deck to play with and I think would have been much better under MM (but that’s my own speculation and I have nothing to base it on).
    -Shonn Greene led the nation in rushing, as a Sr, but he was a miss.
    -Antonio Allen was a LB in college and Rex appears to have made him a very playable S..a 7th round pick.
    -Calling Milliner, who’s played a total of 13 NFL games, Wilson 2.0 is a ‘Mehta-like’ statement that looks for a reaction.
    -You hate Hill, and are probably right on him, but I still think you have to give him another year..see Vincent Jackson and 100 other WR.

    No doubt the last 33 has been bad, but if at the beginning of the year I told you the NYJ would win 6-7 games this year, most would have laughed. If I told you they would do that and have the worst giveaway/takeaway ratio, by far, in the league, and see their rookie QB have 7 TOs for TDs and go almost 1/2 season w/o throwing a TD, most would laugh at me.

    He’s show the ability to game plan and win big games, often when nobody has given the Jets a chance. His players ‘play for him’, which the great Tom Coughlin can’t claim. He’s certainly not perfect, but I think he’s done more as losing HC, than he did as a winning one. I think he should get 1 more season. I think you should remember you’re trying to be objective, because lately you have been a bit skewed.

  3. Where was the pro-Rex argument?

    Joe, sometimes it serves a cause better to hold off campaigning for it. Your recent string of tweets and articles repeat your anti-Rex points so much that they sound like an unreasonable vendetta rather than a logical opinion.

  4. The best teams in the NFL right now, have one thing in common; they had a strong, sustained period of awful play and losing. They sucked for a long, long, long time before stringing together enough talent for a decent coach to come in and make them a contender.

    The Chiefs will make the playoffs, despite being a 3 win team last year because they hired a halfway decent head coach and a D-Coordinator that figured out that Tamba Hali and anything Justin Houston are very good if you let them attack a QB.

    This has nothing to do with having a good draft that turned this franchise around this year, either.

    I double dare anyone to find me more than a modest contributor to this team from this crap heap

    Rd 1, Pick 1 (1) Fisher, Eric OT
    Rd 3, Pick 1 (63) Kelce, Travis TE
    Rd 3, Pick 34 (96) Davis, Knile RB
    Rd 4, Pick 2 (99) Johnson, Nico ILB
    Rd 5, Pick 1 (134) Commings, Sanders CB
    Rd 6, Pick 2 (170) Kush, Eric C
    Rd 6, Pick 36 (204) Wilson, Braden FB
    Rd 7, Pick 1 (207) Catapano, Mike DE

    We look at good rookie seasons as the norm, and not the aberration that they are.

    As bad as the Jets feel about Dee Milliner, Tavon Austin has a couple nice plays in an otherwise meaningless rookie season. Barkeveous Mingo is leading his team in sacks with 5, on a 4 win squad.

    Dion Jordan, who he Dolphins HAD to have, is up to 2 sacks.

    Here is my solution to the Jets lack of talent.

    Fire Rex Ryan, Marty Mornhinweg, DT and the rest of this coaching staff

    Hire Dave Wannstedt, Mike Tice and whoever is currently coaching the Philadelphia Eagles defense to come in and clean house. After 3 years of 2 win seasons, some very valuable draft picks will begin to pile up and we have thoroughly forgotten what winning football looks like, we can bring in some no name coach to take back over and look like a genius for stringing together a winning organization.

  5. Lidman does a good job of addressing your unpersuasive argument.

    Blaming Rex for personnel issues is completely unfair given his lack of real control in this area. This was made clear in Collision Low Crossers. Drafting Jeff Tarpinian like the scouts wanted over Scotty McKnight would not have led to Super Bowls. The next year, drafting Russell Wilson over Stephen Hill like Rex wanted probably would have.

    In terms of player development, the job that Rex has done with the dline is probably unprecedented given the high bust rate of dlineman.

    Every single draft pick has shown All-Pro potential. An UDFA NT has been the best run defender in the league outside of JJ Watt. A “rotational player” in Kenrick Ellis has the best per snap run defense grade for any DT. He has the 14th highest cumulative grade on PFF for any DT despite playing 180 snaps the entire season (for context, Mo has played almost 1000 snaps).

    For LBs and DBs, the Jets haven’t even had prospects to develop. Kyle Wilson is disappointing but still a solidly above average nickel corner who is hardly a weak link on the defense. Bush and Allen were 6th and 7th rounders. The fact that Allen shows starter potential is remarkable in that context. Davis is the only LB selected and shows potential if he can improve his pass coverage.

    On offense, he has been saddled with historically bad QBing. Do you think Mason and Holmes would have been problems if Sanchez was competent? The last 33 games correspond to when Sanchez went from awful to historically awful and then growing pains from a raw rookie QB. The team would have easily made the playoffs the last 3 years with a merely mediocre QB.

    You don’t feel the team hasnt overachieved, but your prediction was based on the job Rex did last year with a similar roster. You can’t have it both ways. Most teams with QBing this bad end up with 1-4 wins yet Rex had these teams in playoff contention into December. Watch Brandon Moore’s retirement press conference and I don’t know if there are that many coaches out there that could have gotten this much out of this roster.

  6. Okay guys, what was not true about what Joe pointed out? Can you not handle the truth? If you can’t lay out these facts in front of you and make a fair assessment, then what do you have? Disillusionment.
    I think we are all aware of Rex’ high points and accolades but rarely do we spell out his shortcomings. Don’t ignore what Joe has written and cast it off as some form of propaganda. Make your own decision. I’m sure the Jets will follow this line.

  7. Pingback: Daily Links: Well What Do You All Think? | The Jets Blog

  8. The biggest mistake the Jets made was allways winding up in the middle. Teams that consitantly have 500 records do not progress and with the current owner he is content with this, Its enough to sell tickets give them hope for a playoff run not an actual SB. All these things have kept the Jets labeled the same old Jets and will continue. Jets should of had Sanchez this season and Geno learning then if the season went bust at least there would be high picks for the draft. Instead the Jets will have middle round picks or trade picks away to get better talent or spend too much for old talent. This has been the mind set of this organization for years and it looks to be the blue print. Does anyone know why BB quit the Jets and left for NE. Would the Jets be as good as NE if he had stayed?

  9. Joe…spot on analysis of the reasons for a HC change. More than anything, a culture change is needed. Rex had 5 years to change the culture of losing and mediocrity. Despite a fleeting 2 years, he has failed in that area. Idzik needs to search carefully, but the right replacement is out there…and no it does not have to be a “Name” HC to satisfy the media and over-emotional fans.

  10. For several years owner Johnson aspired for the Jets to be a form of entertainment. How else to interpret the decision to hire Rex – and his personality?

    Last year he changed his mind. It hadn’t worked in terms of ticket sales and profit. Idzik came in. Can’t get less entertaining than he is.

    The question going into this year is just how much will Idzik take, and could Rex manage to become subdued enough to avoid the knife.

    Starting the season with such low media expectations was a godsend for Rex. It was as if he were playing with MT’s team – not one he helped put together over the previous 4 years.

    Little happened this year to definitively forecast Rex’s outlook. Rex was subdued – almost contrite. The players did perform, as best they could.

    Rex will be back.

  11. Paul..I don’t know if the Jets would be as good, as New England, if they had Bill Belechick. The one thing I do know: you need an upper echelon QB to be successful in this league (though Eli continues to try and disprove that theory in every year the NYG don’t make the playoffs). Part of that is good drafting (you have to give credit to NE and Seattle for finding franchise QBs, after the 1st 2 rounds), but a lot of it is simply luck; is a team fortunate enough to be so bad when one of these guys come out? In the past 30yrs the only QB the NYJ had a chance to draft, that they missed on was Dan Marino. I guess you could argue if they wanted Favre that much, they should have traded up, like Atlanta did, and taken him.
    Ok, we can blame Rex for Sanchez’ lack of development, but he still won with the guy. When Bill Belechick was in Cleveland, he was ‘the genius’ we know now.

    If the NYJ fire Rex, I’ll get over it and I’ll still root for them. I’m a fan, I ‘root for laundry’ more than individuals. But, even if they dig up Vince Lombardi to be their HC, and Bill Walsh to be their OC and bring in Buddy Ryan to be their DC, it won’t matter if Geno Smith doesn’t turn out to be at least ‘Eli-like’. Look at Romo and Stafford this weekend: great players, capable of doing amazing thigs with their arms and feet. However, in those most critical moments, they continue to lack focus and judgement, and they lose track of their fundamentals and mechanics, which leads to bad throws, at the most crucial times. You can bring any coach here, and unless you have the right guy saying ‘hut hut’, you’re fighting up hill. At least with Rex, you know you have a guy who can coach up defensive players, a guy who players will rally around and play hard for and a guy, who when you get him in a big game can prepare a team.

    I was watching Detroit last night and they have Stafford, Bush, Calvin Johnson, Ndamkong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah..all these guys are under 29, Stafford was a 1st overall pick, Suh, Bush and Johnson were 2nd overall picks, Ansah is a 5th overall and Fairley a 13th overall…they play in a division with the Vikings and both Chicago and GB have seen their starting QBs miss significant time..yet Detroit isn’t even in first place…that’s a coach you fire, in my opinion. Now, only Woody Johnson knows how much say Rex has had on the roster, and to what extent signing guys, early in Rex’ tenure, were more about PSL sales, than building a team. I hope the guy stays, but if Geno is Sanchez 2.0, than it won’t matter because great coaching can only get you so far.

  12. Thanks for comments and for reading. I can promise I have no vendetta against Rex and have written countless things over the past 5 years supporting him. As stated at the topic of my piece in the article, I’d be far from devastated if he returned. There are many positive attributes he brings and a fair argument to make for bringing him back.

    However, you cannot ignore the numbers on the road, after a win and overall record the past 2.5 seasons. You also cannot absolve him of the offensive struggles. He is the Head Coach, he is responsible for the entire team. Why was he so loyal to a struggling Sanchez? Why didn’t he force the team to add a strong veteran backup at QB? Why did he let Sanchez play in the 4th quarter of the NYG pre-season game? I just don’t understand completely ignoring these things when discussing his future.

  13. Good points on that Joe. I think the Jets cap situation prevented them from really getting a good back up. I also look back and think, who could they have gotten. When you draft a QB that high, you really have to give him enough rope to hang himself. I am a Sanchez apologist. I’ve come to realize he probably doesn’t have the skill set and work ethic to be anymore than a middling game manager, but I do think they completely ignored the offense too long. How much of that is on Rex, I couldn’t tell you. But, I agree that the HC has to be responsible for EVERYTHING, so there is culpability there. I do believe he played Sanchez, vs NYG, because he was told to do so. Everything we know about Rex is how he coddled/liked Sanchez. I have a hard time believing he would put him in harm’s way on his own accord, but again I have no way of really knowing that. I do believe that Idzik drafted Geno, on MM’s say, so both of them had a stake in the kid starting.

    I’m not a fan of Idzik. He’s Mangini with less of a personality. Nothing he has done has shown me he has any acumen in building a football team. To be fair, he’s been here less than a year. Let’s see how he does this off season with a ton of picks and money to spend. I hope he doesn’t overspend and I’d like to see him trade some pieces (Ellis for one) to illustrate he knows how to maximize value.

    By the way, one question: do you think Mike Tomlin is a good coach? I know he won a SB, and has been to two, but couldn’t you say he inherited a very good roster? He’s done a nice job developing WR there (wouldn’t you know it..he was a WR in college), but look at their secondary, everyone is over 30. Their OL is weak and they haven’t developed a DLman in years…he’s got a top 8 QB, and it’s masked a lot of his failures. If we swapped out Rex and Tomlin, from ’09 to today, who do you think would still be with their team? If we swapped out Rex and TC, from 09 to today, who do you think would be coaching their team? If you swapped out Rex and Jason Garret…Jim Schwartz…

    Geez, now I don’t sound objective.

  14. There is no way to conclude who is responsible for many of the issues being held against Rex unless one is involved in Jets management decisions.

    For example, faulting Rex for Sanchez getting hurt is ridiculous as it was more likely Idzik’s call to play Geno with the starters & Sanchez in garbage time. Furthermore, the burden of proof is on whoever is criticizing Rex to provide proof this was Rex’s decision. This is particularly true for things like personnel decisions which are clearly not solely the responsibility of the head coach.

    This is usually one of the best Jets websites for objective content, but this article, as Lidman suggested, is loaded with bias & lacks objectivity.

    At this point, I’d prefer to see a “call-out” article about Idzik’s terrible roster management & what appears to be preferential treatment of his draft picks to the detriment of the team.

  15. So where does Rex get blame than Jeremiah? He gets zero blame for personnel calls and for a putrid offense despite being a HC for 5 full years? Rex pushed for Hunter. Rex pushed for Holmes. Rex pushed for Mason. Rex made Holmes a captain. These things are all real.

    And Idzik’s terrible roster management? He walked into salary cap hell last season and was forced to draft using Tannenabaum’s scouts. Are you serious? Evaluate him when he uses that 40M+ of cap space he cleared for us and the 12 draft picks he made sure we have this year.

  16. How exactly is the future bright? If you look at the NY Jets roster, tell me who you can honestly say with a good amount of belief will be on the NY Jets in 3 years time? I will say Wilkerson, Coples, Richardson, Harrison, Ferguson, Mangold, Kerley and DeMario Davis. Everyone else IMO is a question mark. I see no one at QB, RB, TE, and secondary that I can say honestly.

  17. Dave, you could look at most rosters, in the NFL, and say the same thing. It’s a ‘cap world’. However, without the cap, I will say these players are more apt to be here, than not:
    Offense
    Winters: he’s played poorly but he’s a rookie and moved from T to G, you have to give him time to develop
    Howard: He’s a good NFL RT..I’d actually say ‘Brick is less likely to be here than Howard.
    Geno Smith: I think he works hard and will acclimate better when he has useful weapons and a full off season to work with the coaching staff and review his 1st year..Eli wasn’t great early and neither was Alex Smith..Nick Foles looked overmatched last year as well.
    -RBs wear out, but I think one of the 3 will still be here and all three will play for this team over next 3 years
    -Zach Sudfeld..kid is talented, let’s hope an off season helps
    -Stephen Hill..I won’t give up I think injuries, a terrible OC, as a rookie and no established #1 WR this year, have severely hampered his development. Early in the year, he was Geno’s main target and had some good moments.

    Defense
    Antonio Allen has shown he can play SS, he just needs to get reps, hopefully now the NYJ are ‘out of it’ Rex will keep him on field.
    Kenrick Ellis, or whomever they trade for him. This guy is good. I don’t watch a lot of film, but he’s a better pocket pusher than Harrison, IMO. He’s going to start somewhere.
    Darrin Walls-taking a flyer here, but he’s got decent size/speed and I think Jets can coach him up (I wouldn’t be surprised if Wilson is still here too. He’s not that bad, and he’s not going to command big $).
    -Troy Davis-small school guy who got injured and was on practice squad most of year..he has size and speed and is only 22, remember Bart Scott and James Harrison weren’t immediate successes either. I think we all agree Rex can ‘coach up’ front 7 guys.
    -Either TJ Barnes or Tevita Finau-both these guys are DT, on practice squad. If Rex is still here, I have to believe he’ll coach one of these guys up too, ala Devito, Pouha (Finau, like Pouha, is a Utah player who did a ‘mission’..he’s 27) and now Harrison and Douzable (who is a solid ‘rotational’ guy).

    Nick Folk..he’s only 29
    Tanner Purdum he’s only 27 and long snapper’s are hard to find

    It’s very likely I’m wrong on at least 1/2 of these, but I do think there is some talent on the team. Again, I think it goes back to QB. If you looked at the Pats or GB roster, I bet you’d be able to wonder what guys will be there. Their QBs make them all so much better.

  18. If you people watched every play of every game this year, including all home games at MetLife Stadium and you’re honest & without an agenda… you would see what I saw!

    Bottom Line: Making one change in personnel would have made a big difference… If you substitute a relatively experienced solid QB {Not a superstar}for Gino in 2013… I can say with great confidence that the Jets would have at least 3 to 4 additional win’s as of today.

    Turnovers that lead to instant touchdowns or eventual touchdowns wear out aggressive defenses!

    Now I am not blaming Gino… he is an inexperienced rookie and with the Jets CAP issues and lack of stored draft choices the Jets had no other options for the QB position.

    My point… Coaching is NOT the problem.

    REX is the ONLY Coach that will get the NY Jets their Next Super Bowl!

    The FRONT Office in the off season of 2011 & 2012 was the problem. Bad Drafts, Bad Free Agent signings and Very Bad Contracts to players.

    This is Idzik’s key offseason… this is his big chance to greatly improve the talent at the skill positions on Offense, special teams and in the back end of the defense.

    The Teachers and Coaches are in place… Once & for ALL give them some real talent to work with.

    Remember the teams that Rex got into the AFC championship games were mostly players of limited talent… very few, if any, were named to the pro bowl!!!!

    Plus he did it with a Rookie QB & a 2nd Year QB. Who were the STARS on those teams????

  19. Joe..one question: you say Idzik was ‘forced to use Tanny’s scouts’. Why didn’t he fire them? He got this job in January, any scout worth his paycheck would be able to move from place to place, and not have missed a beat. Secondly, the main change Idzik brought to the department was to restructure it to a more collaborative effort, that had 3 branches: football admin, pro personnel and college scouting. He added Rod Graves, at nobody’s expense and brought in 3 new scouts. But, the big thing he did: he kept Bradway, who is in charge of college scouting and elevated area scouts Jeff Bauer and Dan Zbojovsky to more senior positions, under Bradway. So, he either thinks the guys are competent, which most Jet fans would disagree on based on last 6 drafts, or he doesn’t know, or couldn’t hire, people he felt were top guys in that field.

    I know I’m hard on Idzik (kind of like you are on Hill, and now Rex), and I hope he turns out to be good. But, again, most of what he did early on has been obvious. I will go to my grave believing he mismanaged the Revis situation. I also believe his insistence to play Geno, with the starters, v NYG is why Sanchez got hurt. I also agree with the earlier statement regarding Winters continuing to play. Oh yeah, and you call out Rex on the Scotty McKnight draft pick, as a favor to Sanchez, which is fair. You should also report that Idzik’s kid goes to Wake Forest, and Tommy Bohanon (who you think stinks, and the NYJ drafted in round 7 last year) was his best friend. This stuff happens in the NFL all the time, so calling out Rex, on the McKnight pick, was simply trying to find a ‘stocking stuffer’ for your argument. In trying to be objective, you’ve given us subjective info that fits your argument (which is what most people do).

  20. On the 2009 team? Mangold. Ferguson. Faneca were top 5 players at their positions. Thomas Jones. Damien Woody were top 10 players at their position. Dustin Keller was a top 15 TE in the NFL. On D. Revis was the best CB in football. Harris was Pro-Bowl caliber. And at that time, Scott was a top 10 ILB. THey also had a talented and versatile DL.

    2010 – It was the same deal, minus Faneca but plus Holmes who played like a Pro-Bowler that season. They also added a top 10 CB in Cromartie.

    I’ve said my case on Rex. All I am doing is trying to show it isn’t a slam dunk to bring him back, it is an open debate. I’ve yet to hear any reasonable justification for the 1-13 record after a win or the 3-14 road record.

  21. Until Rex Ryan is awarded a title along the lines of General Manager, calling for him to be fired for personnel moves is absurd. Tanny got fired for signing Mason & the other personnel mistakes you listed. If Rex were also responsible, he should’ve (& I assume, would’ve) been fired along with Tanny.

    IMO, Rex, or any head coach, deserves blame if players arent motivated or prepared, for in-game mistakes like poor timeout usage &/or challenging penalties, as well as mistakes by the players, if the team consistently gets out-schemed, etc.

    Rex is certainly bears some responsibility for the offense, even though he was not responsible for choosing the OC (Schotty & Sporano) & the team lacks/lacked talent. Furthermore, I agree Rex should not be judged solely on the defense’s performance & should be judged on the entire team’s performance.

    Oday Aboushi or William Campbell have done nothing to deserve a roster spot (other than get drafted by Idzik). These marginal practice squad guys have been eating up a roster spot that someone potentially productive could’ve used. The only move that Idzik made that is a “home run” (to mix sports metaphors) was drafting Richardson. While I do not disagree that the cap situation handcuffed him & limited his choices, your use of the term “cap hell” further reinforces the Manish Mehta/Cimini-style journalism we all come here to AVOID. W all know there was no “cap hell” as the Jets had been planning to dump the salaries of the players Idzik cut or didnt resign last offseason.

    Idzik is clearly not in a “win-now” mode, so why should Rex be judged as if the team had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations? Considering Rex had this team in playoff contention in December, a stronger argument is needed to convince me that the team is under-performing because of Rex Ryan, not in spite of him.

  22. “IMO, Rex, or any head coach, deserves blame if players arent motivated or prepared, for in-game mistakes like poor timeout usage &/or challenging penalties, as well as mistakes by the players, if the team consistently gets out-schemed, etc.”

    Pretty sure you could say the Jets weren’t motivated or prepared when they were obliterated by TEN, CIN, and BUF (coming off a bye week, no less) – Nevermind losing to 0-4 Pittsburgh at home and the no show in Baltimore. What is the defense for Rex benching an effective, ascending Antonio Allen for an ineffective, old Ed Reed? Or for staying with an ineffective, injured Cromartie? Or for using an active roster spot for Holmes against Miami when he played 2 snaps?

    1-13 after a win, shows no consistency. It shows you are good enough to win but not good enough to handle success the past 2.5 years. 3-14 on the road is also inexcusable.

    Aboushi and Campbell should have been practice squad players this year, I agree on that. They are developmental players. We have no idea what type of NFL players they will be yet.

  23. They are 1-13, after a win and 3-14, on the road, because they simply haven’t had consistent QB play. I don’t know this, but I’d love to know if there is a dramatic difference in their giveaway/takeaway ratio, during this period, in home and road games. Geno has been much better at home this year where crowd noise doesn’t affect him. Plus, at home, he’s in a more regular routine of practice schedule, when he’ll eat, and what he’ll do in his down time. On the road, ther are more variables out of his control. It’s not an excuse and he has to get past this (interestingly Sanchez played better on the road his first 2 years) to have success. But, I don’t think it’s surprising that an inconsistent team struggles in the road.

  24. An examination of the 3-14 & 1-13 statistics could make an interesting article. At first glance they are quite ugly, but statistics dont always tell the whole story.

  25. Joe, if I look at the losses you point to, I only ask you this: which of those games should they have won? I think most thought Pittsburgh was winnable. After their bad start, they are 6-4, so maybe their early injuries were a factor. Tennesee was 2-1 when NY played them and Cincy was 5-2, and on a 3 game win streak (talk about inconsistency, that was probably the high point of their season). Buffalo simply played the best game of their season that year. Stuff like this happens, I mean should Minny have beaten Philly this past week? New Orleans has losses to the Jets and Rams. Carolina also lost to Buffalo. The ‘no show’ in Baltimore doesn’t look that bad now: they’ve won 4 in a row, and 5 of 6.

    Look, if Rex should be gone after this season, than I think you should argue he should have been gone after last season. Do you think his performance, as a Head Coach, is worse at this point this year, than it was last year? Is this year’s team more talented than last year’s. This year, he has big wins against NE and NO, and he won a game in Atlanta, when nobody gave him a chance. Last year, they didn’t beat a single team with a .500 record. He has a rookie QB, who every pre draft report indicated was not ready to play in the NFL, and he’s gotten 6 wins, and I think will get 7 this weekend.

    I understand you can’t absolve him for all of the mediocrity of the last 3 seasons. My question is, compared to last year, is this team above where you thought it would be, or below. If your opinion is ‘below’ than I disagree with you, but can see why you’d entertain replacing him. If you say ‘above’ than why would you fire a coach who is improving the play of your team year over year? If Geno simply cuts his TOs in half, while still developing next year, and they can add some talent at WR and TE, and will have a 3rd place schedule, and games against the NFC North, is it hard to imagine them being a 9-10 win team next year, based on how they’ve performed this year? You argue as though this is a 4 win team, it’s not.

  26. I can agree with Joe S on one personnel move would have made a huge difference and IMO, it should be one of Idzik’s top moves this off-season– Find a viable, experienced backup QB. As I have said many times before, if Rex didn’t pull Geno after the games in Buffalo, Baltimore, and Miami, he never was going to.

    If you look at all of the Jets 8 losses this year (@ New England, @ Tennessee, Pittsburgh, @Cincinnati, @Buffalo, @Baltimore, Miami, @Carolina), only Cincinnati and Carolina can you NOT pin the majority of the blame on Geno Smith. The rest of them, squarely on Geno’s shoulders. A less turnover prone, viable veteran QB wins week 2 @ New England, wins at home vs Pittsburgh, wins @ Baltimore, and wins against Miami and has the Jets closer in the 2nd half @ Buffalo, @ Tennessee, and probably Carolina.

    With better QB play, the Jets are fighting New England and Denver for the #1 seed in the AFC

  27. Geno Smith sucks and is having a worse rookie season than Mark Sanchez, the Jets will not win with him and Rex will lose his job because of it.

    The Jets need to draft Johnny Manziel a proven badass who will completely revamp the identity of this team and will become the biggest star in New York, and also sign some free-agent receivers and they’ll be fine.

  28. Year 2011… No Talent at the skilled positions on Offense except for tight end! A hole or two on the offensive line.

    Year 2012… No Talent at the skilled positions on Offense except for tight end for part of the year! Two BIG HOLES on the offensive line.

    Year 2013… No Talent at ALL the skilled positions on Offense! One BIG HOLE on the offensive line that was plugged for the running game but… not pass protection!

    # 24 traded – which I agreed with. Big money contracts lead to less talent overall on the team.

    Keep Rex and WIN a Super Bowl in the future!

    Fire Rex and your NEVER EVER WIN another Super Bowl! Plus I am done as a season ticket holed!!!!!

  29. I cannot believe nobody here chose to back off or not engage in a debate that has only weak arguments behind both sides. Rex’s job depends on three things:

    1) Can Idzik work with him?
    2) Does Woody want him around?
    3) Has he peaked as a HC?

    The answer to the first question is unknowable because no one has heard a peep out of Idzik in a month. The answer to the second question cannot be answered because we do not know Woody’s motives. The answer to the third question is very obscure because all arguments for one side or the other are iindirect at best.

    Chances are not even Woody or Idzik know the answer to the third question, so they will be using their prejudices to answer it. But everyone seems to want to play GM without any of the information that is available only to front office insiders. Joe is approaching firing Rex like it is a math problem; his opponents are imagining coaching to be like gardening. Common sense was surrendered at the door.

  30. The lack of a starting-calibur QB is the Jets’ biggest problem.

    I agree that Johnny Manziel would be great for the Jets (he even said he specifically would like to be picked by the Jets) but I think Idzik will stake his entire career on Geno and the Jets will probably suffer for the next 2 or 3 years because of it.

    Manziel has a better arm and is much faster than Geno, you also have to consider the great play-making ability and leadership qualities he possesses as well. I have no doubt that he’d smoke Geno in a QB competition.

  31. Has Bill B. (hate to use his name) peaked? His defense has sucked for years now. If not for Brady he would have been put out into retirement a couple of years ago!

    How about Jim Fisher? Has he peaked? He had the job when Tenn. was still in Houston. Now he is with the Rams and teaching talented players there.

    The key to coaching is to get your star players to play at their best and to coach everyone else to play above their skill set. Plus get everyone to fight and play hard every play every game.

    The BIG KEY… is to play your best and win against the best teams in BIG Games.

    Rex’s teams come to play in BIG games and they WIN BIG Games! By BIG I mean in the Playoff’s. Rex has won more BIG games than any other Jet coach sine the 1968-1969 season… PERIOD!!!!

    Now when the skill set is garbage and you can coach up that garbage & win some games… but they aren’t good enough to will most of the games… you can’t blame the coach!

  32. Rex cannot be absolved for personnel decissions, but he can be reigned in for this. For Rex to be successful as a head coach he must have a much better, more independant thinking front office. A personnel department capable of exicuting a draft and free agent plan free of Rex’s input.
    I think Rex’s greatest strength is his ability to get the most out of any player (offensively as well). His greatest weakness is his loyalty; or his lack of willingness to try somebody new for a job unless the options are not more limited.

    If Rex is ever going to be a successful long term coach, he must be more objective… or have a front office who is. I do believe he can coach his ass off, but he needs more talent at the cost of familierity.

  33. Kash, how I am ‘imagning coaching to be like gardnening’?

    As to your list of 3:

    Idzik has to work with whomever Woody chooses. Common sense tells you that a new GM isn’t likely going to keep a coach who’s team is coming off 2 straight down years. Sure, nobody knows this for sure, but do you really need to be an insider to figure this out? I mean how many people turned the job down before Idzik said yes? Do you think the job was turned down because people didn’t like NY, or were worried about cold winters?Maybe it was because Woody says: Rex stays and Bradway stays.

    2-Um…that was answered. Just look at Terry Bradway, he’s still around and it would be hard pressed to suggest he’s been a consistently good GM/Personnel guy, over his 12 years here (though he hasn’t been terrible either). Woody must like him and it shows in his loyalty to him; the same loyalty he showed to Rex this past off season.
    3-What does that mean? Do you mean, are his players ‘tuning him out’ ala Pat Riley, Mike Keenan, or Tom Coughlin? If that’s your defintion, I’d say ‘no’, because the team still plays hard. Sure, there is ‘Tone, but most of the players on this team publicly support Rex, and many of guys who are no longer here support him too. They see his faults, but none suggest his message isn’t getting through. If this is not what you mean, again, I ask you how does a HC ‘peak’? None of us can testify if Rex is putting the same time into preparing his players in order to insure they are in the best position to succeed. Finally, Woody and Idzik don’t have prejudices, they should have educated opinions, based on a working relationship.

    People argue based on view points. Joe’s points are valid: in the end it’s a win/lose business and the math tells you all you need to know on that. My own arguments are simply based on observation of the level of play I have witnesseed combined with the subjective information the public receives.

    I generally try not to be petty, churlish or a bully. But, I have to admit I often wonder what color is the sky in your world?

  34. I don’t believe Rex has had much power in making the draft picks and/or other personal decisions. All coaches give input on the players on the board.

    It’s the Front Office that makes the final decision. If the Front Office doesn’t agree with Rex’s input they should NOT listen to and/or make that selection or signing.

    If the Front Office give up their final decision making power… than the Front Office is completely at FAULT for that decision.

    Those days where the coaches shop for some of the grocery’s have been over for years now.

    Idzik was hired to make ALL the FINAL Personnel decisions on his own with input from his personnel team.

    The Front Office brings the talent in and the Coaches Coach that talent.

    In the NFL today… to do it any other way is a recipe disaster.

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  36. @ Lideman
    Thanks for the response I like this site for all the good input most of the posters have. I am not as knowledgeable as most but have learned a lot from this site and the post. I have watched all the games since Rex took over and would like to see what would happen if given the chance with a good or great QB. I still think he does a have a few too many head scratcher moments that could be his demise. I think there are a lot of unknown variables that only upper management or coaches know the real deal on who has made some of the decisions leading to this point.
    I would love to know who inserted Sanchez, how much does Woody have a part in what happens on and off the field decisions. My biggest concern with Rex is he is a likeable guy who players want to play for. I have read some articles about players saying how much they let Rex down almost like a father figure to them. This isn’t the normal approach for most NFL coaches. Sometimes I think he is overly nice but I don’t practice or play for the Jets so this is just off of some of the reward systems he has come up with. An example is giving the team days off after a win or the whole week off after the Bi week, the Captain thing and not pulling Sanchez sooner or getting involved on the offensive side. These things make me uneasy with him at the helm or is he? His first year, he was outspoken and had a chip on his shoulder maybe to much but at least it was a nice change. The Jets had some swagger and made me a believer the Jets were rounding the corner. But as the rosters moves happened and some good players left , players who bleed green and wanted to remain a Jet, were released for Ticket sales and media hype so went to teams cohesion. Some left because it was time but the replacements were questionable. Who is directly to blame for this?
    I hate NE with a passion and believe one day the truth about BB being a shady coach will surface not just spygate but other questionable tactics. BB got lucky with having a great QB but I would love to know how much final say does he have in NE is he the ultimate decision maker on every aspect of the game there. The point I am trying to make is I think the Jets future and current state lays mostly on the owner and current GM if the owner stay clear and the GM makes some smart decisions then the Jets will be successful with Rex. But no one here really knows what goes on behind closed doors there. I would love to be a fly on the wall there just for the peace of mind on knowing who ultimately is to blame for the current Jets woes.
    To all you poster thanks for all the insight and thanks to TOJ for the good articles. Good luck Jets I hope next year will be a ten plus win season.
    Paul SOJ fan

  37. @Lideman You make valid points defending Rex but the fact is those drafts picks in conner and mcknight that are ONLY 5th and 7th round picks are disasters. A good organization and a good coach identify late round talent. Look at the seahawks. How many players 3rd round and on start for them? You cannot just dismiss drafts picks. You waste a draft pick on John Joe McKnight in the 4th round…do you do know as taken after him? Names like Geno Atkins, Kam Chancellor, and even a low key guy like Dennis Pita. Then you have picks after John Conner…names like Greg Hardy, Reshad Jones, Antonio Brown…thats just one draft that the regime messed up…and at the time they were desperate areas of need. A head coach has a huge part of developign the TEAM not just one position on one side of the ball.

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  43. Jerry, you’re cherry picking. You are right the Jets missed on all those guys you listed, and had a bad draft. It happens and drafting is an inexact science.

    In ’09 the NYJ drafted Matt Slauson, in round 6.

    In ’11 they found Powell in round 4 and Kerley in round 5.

    In ’12 they got Antonio Allen in round 7.

    Now, none of the above players are of the caliber of an Atkins or Brown, but all of them are very solid NFL players that the previous regime found late.

    This year they got Oday Aboushi in round 5, Will Campbell in round 6 and Tommy Bohanon in round 7. Bohanon is the starting FB and the other 2 made the team/practice squad.

    You are right, you just can’t flippantly waste draft picks. However, if you go over the past 5 drafts, tell me how many guys taken in round 4, and beyond, are still in the league, let alone pro bowlers.

    Ok, so Cincy found a gem in Atkins round 4, but the blew 2 3rd rounders on Jordan Shipley and Brandon Ghee..and their 1st rounder-Jermaine Gresham has been a disappointment.

    Seattle hit a HR with Chancellor..great..their 4th rounder that year, EJ Wilson, got cut midway through his rookie year.

    Pitta has been nice for Baltimore, much like the Jet players I listed. Thank God, because in round 2 they took Sergio Kindle, who only fell, to rd 2, because of character concerns. He ‘fell down a flight of stairs’, while holding out during his rookie camp (he got into a fight supposedly), and he played 4 games, on ST for them and got cut last year.

    I could go on with the other players, but I think you get my point. Drafting is inexact, teams miss on number 1 overall picks, who ‘can’t miss’: Courtney Brown, Tony Mandarich and Tim Couch come to mind, and they let guys like Tom Brady, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis go in the 6th round, or later.

    My long winded point is: killing the team for missing on late draft picks, and highlighting other guys who’ve become good is easy to do in any draft.

    I mean don’t you also have to give them credit for finding/developing UFAs Austin Howard and Damon Harrison? Both of these guys are very good NFL players that other teams passed on. I’d argue you put those players in the draft class the year you found them. So now, that ’12 draft netted you Howard, Harrison and Allen. When you add Coples, Demario Davis, and Josh Bush (who is still on team) find me a team that did better(and this includes not hitting, yet, on Stephen Hill and misses Ganaway and Griffin) in that particular draft? The only one would be Indy, and that’s because they hit the ‘Luck’ lottery. See..I can cherry pick too.

  44. Like the majority of these comments I am pro-Rex. With the amount of dead cap space and lack of offensive talent, I can’t imagine too many other coaches having better season.

    One point the article makes against Rex is his unwavering confidence in guys like Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene and Wayne Hunter. I actually believe this to be a positive aspect of Rex’s coaching style. He portrays players to the media in a way that gets the most out of them. For these some struggling players, he showed confidence in order to help them believe in themselves. For a guy about to turn the corner (Kerley) he called him out during training camp.

    A lot of players need this confidence to elevate themselves to playing at a higher level. Remember when Richard Sherman said he was better than Revis and we were all like Richard who?

    Richard Sherman, who a lot of people view as a loud mouth / primadonna, is actually an extremely well spoken “Stanford graduate” who actually has become the best CB in the league.

    I think Rex successfully uses this tactic to pump up his players.

    As far as Rex going with guys he is familiar with (Jim Leonard, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, Bart Scott) All coaches take guys they are familiar with. Its great when you have very limited reps to really evaluate a player.

    As far as knocking Rex for late round draft picks, its mostly garbage at that point in the draft. 90% of the time the guy you draft in the 7th round you could have taken as an UDFA. I believe grabbing Scotty Mcknight in the 7th as opposed to UDFA was a gesture to Mark with very little cost.

    As far as Stephen Hill goes, I believe Rex was against that pick. When Hill was killing it in training camp Rex’s quote was “But now that we have him, of course, I want to claim him: ‘Oh, that was my pick.’ But it really wasn’t.”

    Willie Colon said it best: Firing Rex would be a step back for this franchise.

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