When Rex Ryan stood at the podium after another Jets loss this past Sunday, Jets fans were hoping for the words “Vick will start”. Instead they got a coach who dug in his heels for his quarterback and in the process only turned up the heat on his own coaching hot seat. Despite the pleas of “we want Vick” raining down from the Jets fans on Sunday afternoon the Jets head coach once again decided to stick with Geno when in reality Ryan has basically decided to go down with the ship.
“I’m confident in Geno. If Geno is healthy, Geno will start” said Rex in the press conference. Ryan refused to even say if Vick would be considered to play if Smith struggled again. Rex Ryan is without question one of the most player loyal coaches in the NFL. However, this loyalty could be his undoing.
Since John Idzik was announced as the New York Jets general manager Rex Ryan has been on thin ice. Don’t forget, it wasn’t until after the final game last season when it was announced that he would be back as head coach. With Woody Johnson already saying this is a playoff or bust season it is puzzling why Rex Ryan continues to have faith in Geno Smith after his quarterback continues to make big mistakes that have cost the Jets wins. Not to mention Geno appears to be cracking under pressure as he reportedly swore at a fan walking off the field on Sunday.
The worst part of all this? Looking back at these first four games people can make the strong case that the Jets should be 4-0. Instead Smith’s costly turnovers coupled with defensive collapses, a defense which is supposed to be Ryan’s baby, has left the Jets at 1-3.
Momentum is everything in the NFL, and right now Rex is going in the wrong direction. After those back to back AFC Championship appearances in his first two season Ryan has not been back to the playoffs and has a 23- 29 record over his past four seasons. Unless Idzik and Johnson have told Ryan that he is safe past this year, or that the plan is to develop Geno not matter what, then Rex needs to make the playoffs.
Let’s not forget outside of defense the Jets offense has been a disaster under Rex’s tenure. Who has Rex Ryan successfully developed as an offensive player? Sanchez? nope. Smith? not yet. What about Hill, Greene, or McKnight? Unfortunately despite Ryan’s great defensive mind he is still a defensive coordinator as a head coach. He refuses to take responsibility for the offense even though a head coach needs to be accountable for all assets of a football team. Can you blame Ryan for the holes in his roster especially at cornerback? No, but the roster has only been part of the problem. Most of the problems are costly penalties and turnovers.
Sure benching Vick could be a blow to Smith’s confidence, but at this point Ryan needs to send a message that if you don’t perform, you don’t play. It’s that simple as a coach if players aren’t performing and there is a talented player on the bench who can help the team’s performance, you have to let that player play. I know, I know, that Vick is no long-term solution, but if the Jets keep falling and are out of playoff contention early, it maybe time for New York to let Ryan walk.
Believe me, I personally love Rex Ryan and think he is a talented coach and a great defensive mind. Still, if he cannot turn this season around and stays with players who are hurting the team’s performance it maybe time for a new coach of the New York Jets.