By Steve Silverman
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Jets coach Rex Ryan has long been hailed as one of the top defensive experts in the game. The Jets are tops against the run in the NFL, and Ryan has been associated with hard-hitting, nasty and effective defenses throughout his career.READ MORE: NYPD: Wounded Officer Wilbert Mora Transferred To NYU Langone Medical Center, Still In Critical Condition
Bears coach Marc Trestman is known as the “Quarterback Whisperer” in Chicago. He is an offensive guru who helped take a plodding Bears offense and make it one of the most prolific in the game last year.
Trestman has been associated with progressive offensive teams throughout his coaching career in the NFL and the Canadian Football League. He often comes across as a bit of an odd duck due to his vocabulary and un-coach-like demeanor, but he knows how to move the football.
Ryan is not an offensive expert, and he’s depending on Marty Mornhinweg to help the Jets put a representative offensive team on the field.
Trestman does not have a strong defensive reputation, and he is banking on Mel Tucker to help the Bears play respectable defense.
If Ryan and Trestman could meld into one individual coach – as in Jeff Goldblum and the drosophila in “The Fly” – you would have one brilliant football mind.
But that’s not going to happen any time soon. Instead, both of these coaches may struggle to put together complete football teams for at least the first half of the season.
When the Jets and Bears get together Monday night at MetLife Stadium, these two imperfect teams should provide an excellent measuring stick for each other.
Ryan may be a lot closer to building a winning, competitive team with the Jets than his counterpart is capable of doing with the Bears.
Ryan understands that he is never going to put together an offense like the one Sean Payton has in New Orleans or Mike McCarthy has in Green Bay. But the Jets’ offense is making progress. Most importantly, Geno Smith is improving at quarterback, and is giving the Jets a semblance of an attack. He is completing 65 percent of his passes, and that’s a big improvement over the 55.8 percent from last year.READ MORE: NYPD Officer Jason Rivera's Wake To Be Held Thursday At St. Patrick's Cathedral
While the sample size is small and there’s no guarantee that it will continue, Smith has a much better supporting cast this season. Smith has top-drawer receiver in Eric Decker (hamstring) this year and an explosive running back in Chris Johnson.
Johnson’s personality suggests that he is miscast as a running back. Johnson is a look-at-me guy, and therefore should have been a receiver. He is not interested in grinding out rushing attempts and gaining 105 yards on 30 carries. Johnson is breakaway speed demon, and he wants 18 carries for 200 yards.
Johnson may have a hard time sleeping Sunday night as he thinks about the Bears. They had the worst run defense in their history last year, and they may not be much better this year. Especially when you consider that the best run defender on their defensive line is Jeremiah Ratliff, and he suffered a concussion against San Francisco last week.
The Jets may be close to putting a decent offense on the field, but the Bears are a long way from a competent defense. Lance Briggs played in just nine games last year and has quite a bit of wear and tear on his body. He was awful in the season opener against Buffalo, but much better against the Niners in Week 2. All-Pro cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman is out for the season after rupturing his triceps muscle and his career may be at an end.
If Smith doesn’t spit out the bit on the Monday night stage, he should be productive against the Bears. If Smith can have just a little bit of success, look for Johnson to strike it rich.
On the other side, the Bears offense may do some damage against the Jets, but not enough to help them get a win on the road.
This game is a chance for the Jets to get some redemption after blowing an 18-point lead in Green Bay.
The vote here is for Ryan having an advantage over Trestman. Neither man is a complete head coach, but Ryan’s a lot closer to having a consistent team than his rival from Chicago.
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