Rex Ryan's tenure in New York is over
By MATT BARBATO
College Contributor Network
It's hard to say it, but the Rex Ryan era in New York should and will be over in five weeks. The man who brought a beloved bravado to the Big Apple has crumbled under the big city. After two consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship Game, his New York Jets have hit rock bottom. The deepest swoon is presently occurring, as the Jets sit at 2-9, losers of nine out of their last 10 contests.
Ryan even admitted his days in New York are waning following his team's 38-3 defeat in a neutral site game against division-rival Buffalo.
"I know for a fact, unless it changes drastically, that I will be the head coach for the next five weeks," Ryan said in his post game press conference. "That's what I know."
The fact is Ryan's team not only performed pitifully following a bye week, it was blown out by an opponent who had been uprooted from its normal routine by a snowstorm. The Jets are now 1-5 following the bye week in Ryan's six seasons and have been outscored 75-17 by the Bills the past two seasons after the off week.
The shame of it is that Ryan is a fantastic defensive mind. The Jets' defense has been disappointing this season, but Ryan has done a lot with the unit despite general manager John Idzik's refusal to supply him with adequate defensive backs.
But Ryan's main drawback is his negligence for the other side of the ball. Ryan never seemed to totally buy into the offensive side of the ball and a prime example occurred on Monday night. Following a delay of game penalty, New York's offense struggled to get a play called and had to take a timeout to avoid another infraction. During it all, cameras showed Ryan speaking with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, unaware of the situation.
The moment was a microcosm of Ryan's ignorance to the more important side of the ball. He tried schlepping the brunt of the duties on Brian Schottenheimer, Tony Sparano and Marty Mornhinweg, but the quality of play calling and offensive creativity has only decreased with every silly Wildcat formation or gadget play.
Expertise on one side of the ball is valuable, disregard for the opposite is career threatening. A head coach needs to be holistic, even if his roots lie on one phase of the game. Ryan's leadership has been tremendous through his first few seasons, but the message has gone stale and his players have quit on him.
The Jets may not admit it, but Monday night's performance is evidence. The once-admired coach has lost his locker room. The Jets did not compete from the kickoff. The Bills are not a great team. The Jets looked uninterested and unprepared and that ultimately falls on the head coach.
What Ryan could have done with a respectable quarterback and Darrelle Revis for the rest of his career will only be hypothetical discussions in sports bars. Unfortunately, Ryan has lost his right to see that opportunity.
There are plenty of teams out there who should give Ryan a call the minute he gets canned to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy. His brains and leadership abilities should revive even the worst defense, but expecting Ryan to succeed as the head honcho in a different environment is far-fetched. Head coaching is not in his DNA.
How Ryan concludes the season should not matter. There will not be a celebration in Miami if the Jets win out, finish strong and finish 7-9. The momentum from the strong finish to last season was supposed to carry over into the 2014 season. Nothing has carried over besides the same mediocrity. Whether Ryan wins out or not, his tenure is over.
Matt Barbato is a senior at Marquette University. His favorite sport is football and is an avid New York Jets fan, for better or worse. You can follow him on Twitter @RealMattBarbato