By Steve Silverman
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But if Rex Ryan thinks he can breathe easy because he was not let go on Black Monday, he should think again.
Ryan has bought himself one more year — and that’s it. If he doesn’t think so, he should pick up the phone and call Lovie Smith.
Smith was fired by the Chicago Bears on Monday after nine years as head coach of the team that George Halas founded.
The Bears have been struggling with poor personnel moves for years, and the team fired general manager Jerry Angelo a year ago and replaced him with Phil Emery.
Emery had to keep Smith on the job for a full season before he could make any changes at the head-coaching position.
The Bears went 7-1 to start the season, but faded to 8-6 before they won their final two games against the horrendous Arizona Cardinals and the undisciplined Detroit Lions.
Their 10-6 record was not good enough to get them into the playoffs. Emery wasted no time and fired Smith less than 24 hours after the Bears’ season ended.
The new Jets general manager has a lot of work to do, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. You don’t have to be a football guru to understand that the Jets can use a little help at the quarterback position, followed closely by the wide-receiver spot as well as the offensive line.
There are a number of candidates who might be able to fill the bill. Some of them are experienced former general managers like Charlie Casserly (Washington and Houston), Mike Lombardi (Cleveland and Oakland) and Floyd Reese (Tennessee).
Kevin Colbert is the director of football operations for the Steelers and Randy Mueller is an executive with the Chargers. Both are qualified to take over the front office.
A new general manager will have a lot of work to do to upgrade the Jets’ personnel. That’s a full-time job in itself. Free-agent signings will have to be made and a successful draft is vital.
The Jets can’t afford to bring someone in who is not an expert at upgrading the personnel and figuring out who has to go.
But in one year, that general manager will also have to evaluate the coach and make a decision.
That’s largely a function of the won-loss record. If the Jets can make enough moves and get back to the playoffs next year, that’s usually good enough to bring a head coach back.
However, a top-level general manager will go further. He will look at his head coach’s ability to coach and motivate his entire team, not just the offense or the defense.
That’s what cost Smith in Chicago. There is no doubt that he is a defensive expert who helped give the Bears one of the most well-rounded and effective defenses in the league. But in nine years, the Bears were almost always at the bottom of the league in offensive production.
Smith did not understand what it took to build a consistent offense, even though he made his reputation stopping offenses.
Isn’t Ryan in the same boat as Smith?
Ryan had some success with his ground-and-pound approach in 2009 and ’10. However, that is not going to work over the long haul.
If Ryan gets the offensive personnel but can’t turn things around next year, he will likely find himself on the outside looking in a year from today.
What does Rex need to achieve with this team next year to keep his job? Will anything less than a playoff berth doom him? Sound off with your thoughts and comments in the section below…