By Richard Coutinho
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NEW YORK, N.Y. (WFAN) - I know I usually blog about the Mets and I will get back to them and their issues at the trading deadline in short order but I feel compelled to write about the Jets and Rex Ryan this morning because the way he is being portrayed is unfair and ridiculous. The media plays a shell game with the Jets and their fans. They ask leading questions and illicit responses that will create headlines, sell papers and keep the conversation going that will talk about anything but the game. I guess the media is bored by talking about the game but, for me, it is why I got in this business–I love the game, I respect it, and I feel fortunate I have the privilege of covering it.
But back to Rex Ryan. This is a guy that came here and took his team to 2 straight conference championship games never having one of their playoffs games in the confines of his home stadium. He beat Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady in those games in which he executed 3 ENTIRELY different defensive game plans. The Manning and Brady game plans were executed on successive weeks making that even more amazing.
Last year was a tough year for his team because 8-8 was not good enough and he’d be the first one to tell you that. There were times the Jets showed flashes but ultimately their lack of team speed and their poor offensive line play did them in. But let me say this. What Jet coach in their history went to 2 straight AFC Title games? Not a single one. Not Bill Parcells. Not Herm Edwards. Not even Weeb Ewbank. So when I hear Jet fans complain about how long they are suffering, I laugh because they are just spewing the same nonsense I hear from the media.
A big part of this is the success of the New York Giants and where they went after beating the Jets. I want to make this perfectly clear. The Giants are one of the finest organizations in all of sports and they deserve every accolade they’ve received. They have great players, a great head coach, and a will to win that is as good as it gets. But this nonsense that the Jets are a fractured organization is just that-nonsense.
Sure they have made mistakes but in the game of football, it really comes down to the little things. What if Miles Austin catches that Tony Romo pass vs. Giants in Dallas? What if Ahmad Bradshaw’s fumble is called correctly? What if Victor Cruz is pushed out-of-bounds prior to his 99 yard TD pass? What if the Jets box Tim Tebow inside the 10 yard line in Denver last year? This does not diminish what the Giants did in any way–but it also serves notice that the Jets with all of this “dysfunction” were still alive for a playoff spot in Week #17.
More importantly, when the Jets played the Giants, Rex Ryan had the right defensive game plan. Look at Eli’s numbers in that game and you can understand the scheme Ryan was employing. My point is that Rex is a GREAT defensive coach because of one simple fact. He is not so chained into his “ego” (despite what the media says) and his philosophies that he won’t change. That point is illustrated by the fact is successive weeks he won playoff games in 2 very different ways. He used a bend but do not break philosophy with Peyton Manning but whipped out a pressure blitzing game against Tom Brady the next week.
Is he the best defensive coach in football? I do not know about that but I do know he is absolutely in the conversation and for anyone to dispute that is absolutely insane and proves they just do not like Rex Ryan because if I owned a football team, I know my team would be in GREAT hands with Rex Ryan. Period.
You must have the personnel to employ great game plans like that but make no mistake about it–Rex is the RIGHT person to lead the New York Jets. It seems to me we heard rumblings about Tom Coughlin a few years ago–the game had passed him by and he was a grouchy old man. Well, that grouchy old man now will have a place in Canton, Ohio and good for him because he never changed who he really was. Rex Ryan will never change either and that is a good thing. No matter what anyone in the media might have you believe.