By Tyson Rauch
Should he stay or should he go? That is the question that will be asked about New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan for the remainder of the season. Arguments can be made for and against keeping Rex, but at the end of the day the team’s record is 2-8 at the bye week and the organization will be missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Change in perception?
Winning is the ultimate deodorant as it appears that the New York Jets victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers revived the supporters of Rex Ryan. The head coach’s fire and passion on the sidelines along with inspired play by his team has several talking about how Ryan can turn things around.
But what about the Rex Ryan that many believed would be fired if the Jets were blown out by the Pittsburgh Steelers? What about the Rex Ryan that has struggled with roster management and game management? What about the Rex Ryan that has yet to put together a competent NFL offense over the past 3 years? Did one victory over the Steelers wash away all of those issues?
Rex the coach
As a man everyone loves Rex Ryan for his bravado, honesty, and his genuine personality. What you see is what you get with Rex Ryan, and that is admirable in this day and age. The problem is that coaches are not evaluated by their popularity or their personality. Head coaches in the National Football League are gauged by wins and losses and their ability to develop and improve their team. Since making the AFC Championship game in 2010, the New York Jets have a record of 24-34.
Built in excuses
Supporters of Rex Ryan have several built in excuses while defending their head coach. “Rex Ryan never had a quarterback” is usually the first line of defense. Well, Rex has had young quarterbacks and mishandled them. “Rex is a great defensive mind that always keeps his team in the game.” How many times has Ryan’s vaunted defense (the one that is loaded with 1st round picks) yielded a scoring drive in a big spot? Rex is an incredible defensive mind but his team has been far from dominant on that side of the football. “The players love playing for Rex.” This point may very well be true, but that friendly relationship often comes at a price. There are times when accountability, leadership, and discipline has been questioned in the Jets locker room and that falls on the head coach.
In 2009 Rex Ryan was the perfect fit for the New York Jets as he completely changed the culture within the organization. Rex gave the team and the fan base an attitude adjustment and removed most of the “Same Old Jets” references. The Jets were a win now team with a smash mouth approach. Five years later, Gang Green is a franchise looking to rebuild and establish an identity. The quarterback position remains an unknown while the defense is going backwards due to questionable personnel moves and a ridiculous amount of injuries.
With 6 games left no one truly knows what to expect out of the New York Jets. Will the team rally and win a couple of games? Or will the team mail it in during meaningless games? And does the team’s performance even matter in terms of retaining Rex Ryan?
A win over the Pittsburgh Steelers does not eliminate the fact that the Jets have one of the worst records in the NFL. This entire season has been an audition for Rex Ryan, not just the remaining 6 games. Keep that in mind while debating the future of the New York Jets head coach.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.