By Joe Giglio
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As the New York Jets invade Cortland, N.Y., for training camp, there is a noticeably different theme around the franchise than in any of Rex Ryan’s previous camps. Gone is the new vibe and excitement of a regime change in 2009, the championship expectations of 2010, the hangover heading into 2011 or the Tim Tebow circus of 2012.
In their place, uncertainty lies. From roster turnover to the departure of Darrelle Revis to the arrival of Geno Smith to the calm, collected demeanor of John Idzik, the New York Jets are a markedly different football team that at any point since Ryan became the head coach in 2009.
With the continuity of roster cohesion and winning football long gone, Ryan, in the midst of coaching in New York as a lame duck, has chosen to go back to his defensive roots.
Normally, with a different team, in a different year, this would be cause for Ryan fodder, but it’s the right thing for him and the 2013 New York Jets.
The roster assembled in Cortland doesn’t need Ryan to spend time being something that he isn’t. In other words, it’s in the best interest of Jets fans if Ryan drops the charade of becoming a true well-rounded head football coach.
That’s not who he is, not who he was when the Jets were successful and not what the 2013 team needs. To put it bluntly, Ryan is a glorified defensive coordinator. While that may feel like an insult hurled at a head coach who took his team to back-to-back AFC championship games, it’s not.
If the 2013 Jets are to exceed expectations and become a decent football team, Ryan should dive back towards his roots. When factoring in the loss of Revis and young, talented additions to the defensive side of the ball in the draft, Ryan has a new, hungry group to mold into a dominant outfit.
Many NFL fans and analysts believe that Ryan is a dead man walking, destined to go down with the ship in 2013. If that’s his fate, there is no shame in going down with his fastball.
For Ryan to take the podium everyday in Cortland and spew rhetoric about becoming a better all-around coach would be nothing more than lip service to the media and football community in this town. If Ryan and this Jets team overachieves, the route and map used to achieve success won’t matter.
Last summer, we heard about a complete head football coach who sat in on offensive meetings and became involved in the offensive game plan. By December, through the fault of coaching and personnel, the Jets showcased one of the worst offensive units in the sport.
Less is more, Ryan.
Instead of becoming a complete football coach, dance with what brought you to this level: defense.
If the team is successful on the back of a dominant defense once again, the results will be the only talking point New York is interested in.
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