What do you think of Rex Ryan?
That's right people, I said it. Rex Ryan has the sharpest defensive mind in football. The sad part is I've been saying it for the past few months and only now are people starting to listen.
This is a guy who beat both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in a six-day period, in road playoff games, with totally different defensive plans. That should have been enough to prove Ryan’s skill. But the media refuses to give this man any credit and I simply do not know why. Maybe they want to have the last word, but I have a newsflash for them: Rex is rewriting their silly narratives.
Ryan entered the 2013 season with a depleted roster due mainly to salary cap fallout, but he never complains about the personnel situation. Most of the experts (aside from me and a couple of others) said Ryan was subsequently finished and ESPN went as far as naming the Jets the worst team in football. I felt like the media was out to get Ryan fired. Funny thing is that no one gave Ryan that memo.
His team is 5-4, and if the season were to end today, the Jets would be a playoff team thanks to Ryan’s brilliant defensive game plans that defused the talents of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, among others. Can you name another coach in football that has done that in one season? The answer is, of course, “no,” but the media will have you believe that the Jets were just lucky. As the great Branch Rickey once said, "Luck is an element of design." And the good fortune of the Jets is due to the preparation skills of a head coach whose passion and aptitude for defensive game plans is tops in the sport.
The Jets sacked Drew Brees twice Sunday, but on numerous occasions forced him to get rid of the ball far sooner than he would have liked to throw it. Players like Antonio Cromartie made mistakes, but rebounded to make huge plays because the belief Ryan has in his players is real. He knows they are all human and make mistakes, but he also knows that his game plan can always be changed to put his players in the best positions to succeed. That is the mark of a great coach. Sure, Ryan wears his heart on his sleeve, and sure he speaks his mind, but understand this: that is why his players love him and always go through a wall for him.
He is also trying to bring along a rookie quarterback and there have been good days and bad days on that front. But Geno Smith always takes accountability for mistakes and when things go well, always credits his teammates first. That is the mark of a quarterback who is receiving solid mentoring from the coaching staff. There is a boatload of players that Ryan has made better in his tenure as head coach for the Jets, but we never hear about that from the media. We only hear about his "no sex edict," which turned out to be a total fabrication, or a host of other non-football angles that keep people believing Ryan is what’s wrong with the Jets.
There is so much football left in this season and the Jets have much work to do to make the playoffs. But it is a realistic goal to shoot for and one that Jet fans are finally warming up to, and I tell you that because I sat in the stands yesterday and listened to them. They love their coach and cannot understand why the media has tried to cut his legs out from under him. The fans are looking at this whole situation logically and are waiting for most of the Jet beat reporters to do the same.