TOJ Roundtable – Rex Ryan Extension Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses how Rex Ryan can improve as a Head Coach in 2014

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!

With news of Rex Ryan’s extension coming out today…how can he improve as a head coach in 2014?

Joe Caporoso – There are two main areas: consistency and limiting loyalty. Rex has a bad habit of not having his teams properly prepared in certain weeks (very frequently after a win) and of playing scared/conservative against teams that he considers physical. As for the loyalty issue, Rex needs to be play the best player always, regardless of what anybody has done in the past for him. Rex has an excellent defensive mind and a magnetic personality but he still has strides to take in the previously mentioned areas, along with in-game management. (Protect those timeouts and stop throwing so many ill-timed challenge flags!)

Connor RogersMy biggest issue with Rex is the inconsistency of preparation. There are games where he brings an all-world type game plan (playoff game versus New England in 2010 and Saints game this season) and games where the team looks like a junior varsity squad (Cincinnati this season).

Inconsistencies should be expected with young teams, which explains much of this past season. With another year in the books for this extremely young squad, Rex needs to have them ready to bring their A game each week. Consistency much be preached in practice week in and week out.

Cole PattersonRex Ryan, to the surprise of many, has shown a propensity to adapt and evolve as a head coach. He no longer floods the airwaves with bombast and hyperbole. He has slackened his antiquated offensive philosophy and deferred to Mornhinweg. This is the good news. The bad news is that there are still some glaring issues with his game planning and decision making.

Improving his week to week game planning is one way in which Rex can continue to improve. One week he will concoct a perfect game plan and have his team mentally prepared for the challenge ahead. The next week it could seem as if he just took a week off and let the chips fall as they did. This is the biggest roadblock to the Jet finding consistency.

Rex also has a tendency to favor certain players (see Ed Reed) and give them unwarranted playing time. This is a major flaw in Rex’s decision making. He allows the whole team to suffer for his personal code and, while this quality endears players to him, will lose the Jets games.

Dalbin Osorio – I’d like to see Rex improve in his clock management (Jets still struggle with the appropriate use of timeouts), cease with the silly challenges, and be more accountable to veteran players. I know those things aren’t in the X’s & Os of football, but these are things that great coaches don’t consistently struggle with. Rex’s challenges seem full of emotion for me, and I feel like he is usually taking his players at their word regarding whether to challenge a play or not. Improving his clock management would go a long way towards eliminating delay of game penalties that the Jets seem to commit so many of. This year is playoffs or bust, IMO, and Rex needs to clean up the details in order to evolve as a coach.

TJ Rosenthal – Rex is who he is at this point. He’s toned down his personality with the media. He has an OC who seeks to dial it up more than Schotty and Sparano did. He re-branded his defense from one whose strength was its corners to one where the power now comes from up front.

The two things that still stand out as  needing work still is his unwavering loyalty which at times allows struggling players the undeserved gift of too much rope and his lack of feel for throwing and winning the challenge flag. Both are areas based on feel and it’s possible that the guy is just too much of a players coach and emotional with the red flag to fix either

And now check out these stats as we gear up for the Super Bowl…on the road to MetLife Stadium.


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

  • Frank Antonelli

    Nice to see all the haters proven wrong. Rex has proven he can coach in this league and at a very high level. If Idzik can deliver in free agency and the draft there is no telling where Rex can take this club. And for all you haters go (*#$()**( yourselves.

  • Nikolas

    Rex is a great coach.He is the JETS. But I do agree with some of the criticism of “inconsistent” game preparations.

  • Lidman

    I always question why a team isn’t ‘prepared’ when they lose. It could certainly be an issue, but every time a team loses, it can’t be because they weren’t prepared. This isn’t a defense of Ryan, just more an observation.

    There are no perfect coaches. I think what the NYJ did here was correct. Just look at the HC hires this year, do any of these guys immediately stand out as immediate improvements over Ryan? Like him or not, he’s had 1 losing season, in 5yrs. Guys play for him. Unfortunately, the NYJ ‘went for it’ when he first got here and didn’t come away with a SB appearance. When you sign FA and trade away draft choices it generally comes back and bites you. Hopefully, Idzik will be able to bring in some FA talent and have another solid draft. Most of all, hopefully Geno is a franchise level QB. If he’s not, it doesn’t matter who is the HC.

  • KAsh

    Everyone except Connor cites loyalty to veterans as an area Rex needs to improve on, but nobody justifies it or gives it a deeper analysis. The most someone says about what Rex should do is Joe with his enticement to “play the best player always.” I think that the lack of depth to this idea masks what all the writers are actually suggesting.

    Rex is known for having a good defense and the loyalty of his defensive players because he always puts them into a position to succeed. But Rex is also know for having one of the most complex and confusing defenses in the NFL. These two ideas clash: you cannot have a complex defense with simple assignments. The more players Rex has that can handle complex assignments, in which they read and react to the situation together as one, the more dangerous his defense. To Rex, his “best players” are the most versatile ones, which tend to be veterans (and the Jets’s early-round picks). Late-round picks that lack one or two parts to their games have a ceiling as situational role players until they develop their game. Marty controls the other side of the ball, but he seems to be a lot like Rex philosophically. Both would rather use a bigger playbook than execute a smaller playbook better.

    Some proof of Rex and Marty’s preference for knowledge and versatility can be seen in how playing opportunities were given out last year. Against Atlanta, Ivory was healthy and Goodson was incinerating the defense his first game back from suspension, but who got the call twice on the last, game-winning drive of the game? Powell the Reliable. Ivory did not become the primary back until the Patriots or even the Saints more than a month later. Cumberland was always used over Winslow, even though Winslow was getting more results with less tries, because Cumberland was always there and always practicing. Richardson and Wilkerson played almost every snap this year, but Richardson played the 3-tech almost all of the time while Wilkerson was moved all around the formation. Milliner was a very intelligent and mental player coming out of Alabama, but he repeatedly got pulled when his knowledge and ability did not convert to the field. Davis sat for a year behind the awful Bart Scott (and barely saw any playing time); now in his second year, he comes out and is a surprise. Allen is a player that is superior athletically to Ed Reed, but Reed knew the system inside out and generally always knew his responsibility.

    Also, the teams Rex lost to were mostly inflexible teams that were not going to change their game plan regardless of what the Jets did. His craftiness and adaptability can outsmart defenses that try to attack weaknesses, but the defense does not hold as well against teams that wear you down. To adjust better against such teams, the Jets need more weapons on both sides of the ball and they need a simplified game plan where they do not try to confuse the other side. While such an approach does value the physical talents of a player more, the Jets need to master patience and one-mindedness until the opponent us forced to adjust to us. Rex may need to learn to simplify his defenses to better accomodate more physically gifted players that are not as expert at the position as more veteran players, especially when dealing with stubborn teams.

    A player’s knowledge, for lack of a better term, some combination of adaptability, situational awareness, and understanding of his position and its duties, is what the Jets value in their players. If you get Rex physically talented players, they are going to sit on the bench; if you give him mentally ready players, they will be given starting roles according to their abilities. But if you insist on getting physical talent and making him start it, then what Rex needs to do is pare down his defense and simplify concepts or gamble more with the results.

    Thankfully, the Jets seem to know what players they do best with. I think that they are going to avoid all pure athletes in favor of more versatile, headier players.

  • Harold

    Joe you have a good feel for what Rex needs to do to be more effective (Loyalty, I think is a little overrated).

    He must get rid of his turtle mentality when facing what he thinks are good defenses. No matter who you play you must have an identity and stick to it.

    You can’t try to be a throwback coach in today’s NFL. You have to throw the ball to be effective. You can feature the run and defense like the 49er’s and Seahawks, but you must be able to make plays in the passing game when needed.

  • Mark Phelan

    How about instilling more pre-snap discipline. Cut down on penalties….no more 12 men on the field timeouts or penalties.