Dyer: Rex Ryan Now Faces Credibility Gap This Offseason

By Kristian Dyer
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Over the past two seasons, Jets fans could rejoice in the brutal honesty and refreshing passion of head coach Rex Ryan, a man who could never be accused of biting his tongue.

Ryan was brash, making bold predictions and talking about wanting to take the Jets to the Super Bowl. His team came close during his first two years with the Jets, twice making the AFC Championship Game but falling short. Although he was writing checks with his mouth that his team couldn’t cash, there was the sense that Ryan had this team believing that they were Super Bowl contenders.

Now after an 8-8 season and no playoffs for the first time in his tenure with the Jets, Ryan’s words and promises ring hollow.

The biggest part of the 2012 offseason for Ryan may not be rebuilding his team or piecing together a good NFL Draft – it might be in rebuilding the credibility gap over his statements.

It is easy to dismiss Ryan as a blowhard – which is partially true – but he knows and acknowledges that his statements aren’t directed towards the fans or the media but towards the 53 players in the locker room that he works with every day. Last season before the divisional playoff game in New England, Ryan billed the game as not between the Jets and the Patriots but between himself and New England head coach Bill Belichick; in doing so he was taking the pressure off his team in light of their regular season meltdown in New England just weeks earlier.

It was a shrewd and calculated move by the master manipulator of the media as he successfully took the attention and scrutiny off of his Jets, freeing them to play. Ryan became the focal point and the villain for the next week and his team responded with an upset win over the Patriots.

Everything by Ryan is by design, a perpetual message to his team that he believes in them. It’s the reason why he’s a players’ coach and why talent like Plaxico Burress, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson have flocked to the Jets the past two season.

But now, Ryan is lacking the ability to follow through on his bold talk and all the bravado. His 8-8 team shows humbling flaws in what he proclaimed in preseason to be the best assembly of talent he’s had since coming to the Jets. In light of his gross overestimation of his team, Ryan’s other verbal flaws are now exposed.

There was the ugly lead up to the Giants game in Week 16, which made him look like an amateur in using headlines and tabloid backpages to pick fights with the “big brother” Giants organization. As bad as the loss to the Giants was that Christmas Eve, the Jets lost more than a game as Ryan stood at the podium afterward, at a loss and forced to stand in the lights of a very public humiliation. They lost that day the image of a coach whose team backed up his words.

He no longer looks like the fun-loving, heart-on-his-sleeve wearing Ryan that was embraced by the Jets and the NFL the last two seasons. Now the perception is of an unhinged head coach who told the San Diego media in a conference call that he would have won a Super Bowl already if he had the talent available to him on the Chargers, a slap in the face to not only Norv Turner but also his own Jets team. And there’s the Ryan who, at halftime of the loss to the Patriots in November, looked up into the stands as he walked off the field and cursed at a heckling fan.

The sound bites and images of Ryan these days aren’t flattering.

This isn’t the Ryan who defended his team last year when they went through a rocky midseason stretch or buried the game ball from the Patriots loss. It isn’t even the head coach who in his first season with the Jets cried in front of his team when he thought they were out of the playoffs. The genuine nature and passion of the affable Ryan doesn’t ring with the same bravado as it did the past two seasons.

It is something that could well hurt the Jets this offseason. Free agents were attracted to Ryan as the ultimate players’ coach who loved his team unconditionally and unbending; where every action and every utterance was legitimate and from the heart. He was a walking billboard that the Jets could put up for any and all free agents to come and want to play for a coach who believed in them.

Now, Ryan the loose cannon must rebuild his reputation as something more than just hot air and find that right mix of arrogance and teddy bear that made him hated around the league and loved in his own locker room.

It might be the biggest offseason challenge the Jets face.

Kristian R. Dyer contributes to WFAN.com and covers the Jets beat for Metro New York. He also writes for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him at twitter.com/KristianRDyer

Does Ryan face a credibility gap? Sound off below…


One Comment

  1. earle says:

    This business about Rex’s talking is to take pressure off his team is unbelievable nonsense! give us a break…….Rex runs his fat mouth for no other reason than that he is a big blow-hard!! I love how the media think he’s a psycho-analyst….some sort of Freud/Jung thing…….trust me…..this guy ain’t that bright!

  2. Charles Zigmund says:

    This is not the in the least surprising for a Jets fan. No more “Same Old Jets,” I’ve heard it so many times it is like a chant. Parcells in, “no more SOJ,” a couple promising seasons then a collapse. Herman Edwards in, “no more SOJ,” a couple promising seasons then a collapse. Eric Mangini in, “no more SOJ,” a couple promising seasons then a collapse. Rex in, “no more SOJ,” a couple promising seasons then a collapse. You can set your watch by it. As certain as death and taxes. The next coach — and there will be one in two-three years — should be PROHIBITED from saying “No more Same Old Jets.” Let him win at least a division championship if not the Super Bowl before he’s allowed to say it. Two winning seasons is not enough. And Ryan — well, his father and brother are the same fat blowhards he is — none of them successful as head coaches and Rob is even having a hard time succeeding where his father and brother did as a coordinator. They all stink.

  3. Dan says:

    How about both fan bases shut up and get their own stadium first? Then you can stop the big brother little brother talk…then we will see who has the bigger/better fan base…Come on people, two organizations are taking advantage of the NYC/NJ area’s well earned money, with $45 parking, PSL’s and then asking for you to pay for season tickets! You would think since they both paid for the stadium the price would be half as much for the fans, but no, we get a 2nd rate stadium as far as the “newer” stadiums go, lookis like a metal cage with grass…for our area this stadium is horrible.

    1. BSquared says:

      The Giants had their own stadium from 1976 – 1984 when the Jets moved in. Hence, little brother. But I do agree, Metlife is trash and a ripoff.

  4. BSquared says:

    This quote is way off: “Ryan was brash, making bold predictions and talking about wanting to take the Jets to the Super Bowl.”. He never said he “wanted” to win the Super Bowl he said he WOULD win the Super Bowl. Also, when Rex bashed Norv Turner on how many Super Bowls he would of won if he had that talent. Well what about this quote: “His 8-8 team shows humbling flaws in what he proclaimed in preseason to be the best assembly of talent he’s had since coming to the Jets.”. Flat out this guy is not a good coach. He is a loud mouth who is begging for attention.

  5. McQueen says:

    What is ironic is that Giants’ fans like to call everyone else classless when they demonstrate their own lack of class by posting their bitter comments here.

  6. McQueen says:

    An even bigger clown than Carton is the poster named Marc. What exactly is he suggesting? That the Jets go out of business? What exactly does catching up with the Giants mean?

    1. Belichick says:

      No different then what you’re doing McQ*eer. The person that’s bitter here is you because your overrated Jets were knocked out of any playoff hope by the Giants.

      Catching up with the Giants means is that the Giants own NY football and the Jets are still 2nd rated.

  7. Hank says:

    “he knows and acknowledges that his statements aren’t directed towards the fans or the media but towards the 53 players in the locker room that he works with every day”.

    Bullsh%t! When Rex stands in a PRESS conference and says he believes the Jets are the best team and will win the Super Bowl he is undeniably talking to the media, fans and the rest of the league.

    “I’m not here to kiss Belichick’s rings” and “this is out town, the Giants are our little brothers” were clearly meant for Belichick and the Giants, not his team.

  8. Jonah says:

    What credibility? Getting to the AFC League Championship and losing twice is not this great accomplishment? Win it, get to the Super Bowl and win that, then you have credibility.

    Marv Levy took the Bills to the Super Bowl 4 straight years, lost them all, and you never hear anyone call him a great coach. Rex has yet to win a Division title, so where is this credibility coming from?

  9. Anthony says:

    The best thing about the jets missing the playoffs is Ch2 will not be visiting and asking Mr. Carton’s opinion of the jets, he is classless and a joke.

    1. .. says:

      Another happy Jets fans, crying all the time, you’re good in bragging, in not winning anything, but cry when someone says anything bad about the Jets. You also must be a Mets fan.

  10. Marc says:

    When will Woody Johnson wake up and realize that he will never have the same type of organization as the Giants. Stop trying to catch up to the Mara’s, it’s never going to happen. Getting rid of Rex Ryan would be a first step towards gaining credibility. He is running a three ring circus.

    Craig Carton has no business being on a sports talk radio show. Send him off to satellite radio. He is a joke.

    1. Dayyo18 says:

      Marc right on Craig Carton is a clown and is stupid he doesnt know sports

      1. Gary Muraca says:

        Mike Francesca is a bigger blowhard and should be canned> his blowhard opinions and know it all attitude is tiring. His holier that thou attitude tiring. Hey Mikey where is that first wife that you cheated on with the sales woman from the FAN who then married you. You are a clown and Mushnick is right about all he says about you.

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