So the New York Jets have fired head coach Rex Ryan.
Let me say that I became a fan of the Jets primarily because of Ryan. Being a fan of the NFL and living on the east coast of Canada, I grew up not being a fan of any team in particular. Sure, the New England Patriots were the closest team and most of my friends were fans, but I didn’t really care for them much and they were perennial losers at the time (i.e. the Drew Bledsoe era).
So I just drifted along…loving whatever team I had the most fantasy players on. Then, back in 2009, I watched the draft and heard the rumblings about how Rex Ryan wanted to take the Jets to the SuperBowl. I watched them draft Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. I watched the Jets build a team over the next two seasons that included Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jerricho Cotchery, Braylen Edwards, Dustin Keller and Darrelle Revis.
The Jets went to the AFC championship game two years in a row, using a combination of incredible defense, super-tough running, and a safe, balanced attack through the air. In 2011 and 2012, though, the cracks began to show. The burden was placed more on Sanchez and less on the running/defensive game. Smart decisions fell to the wayside and allowed interceptions to come to the forefront.
Why did the Jets fall so quickly so fast? Was it all Ryan’s fault? Was it all Sanchez’s fault? Was it all the GM’s fault?
By the 2012 season, the Jets had no running game and no offensive line. This left Mark Sanchez scrambling ALL the time and, ultimately, throwing the ball way too much. By this time, though, Sanchez didn’t have anybody to throw to other than a returning Edwards and a tired Keller. Because the defense was banged up (Revis ended up on IR), they were always playing from behind…resulting in more throws and less game management.
And don’t even get me started about the Tim Tebow debacle.
In 2014, hopes were high for the Jets. They had a ton of salary cap room and there were a number of free agents on the market. They had seven picks in the first five rounds of the draft. Things were looking really good.
Then, inexplicably, second year general manager John Idzik decided that this should be the year that he drop the ball and completely fuck the team.
- Did anybody think that Geno Smith was a star quarterback when he was drafted?
- Why didn’t they make a play to bring back Darrelle Revis?
- Why didn’t they draft more O-Line help other than OT Dakota Dozier in the 4th round?
- They drafted TE Jace Amaro with their 2nd round pick.
- They released Antonio Cromartie when their secondary was in bad shape.
- They released Santonio Holmes when they didn’t have any other WR starter.
They made a few moves in free agency that seemed decent, though none were meant to do much but add depth. They picked up free agents Eric Decker from the Broncos, Michael Vick from the Eagles, and Chris Johnson from the Titans.
The only spectacular move they made was trading for Percy Harvin in October…but by that time it was too late for both Ryan and Idzik.
So did Idzik fuck the Jets? In my opinion, yes. He drafted poorly and did next to nothing in the free agent pool. Who was available? RB Rashad Jennings, RB Knowshon Moreno, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, RB Donald Brown, RB Toby Gerhart, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Julian Edelman, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Golden Tate, TE Dennis Pitta, TE Brandon Pettigrew, TE Owen Daniels, and a slew of offensive line players.
Sure, hindsight is 20/20…but can you not look at the free agent pool from last off-season and see that the ball was dropped? Can you not look at the draft and see the head-scratching picks?
At the end of the day, Rex Ryan did NOT deserve to be fired. The players LOVED him and his defense consistently ranked in the top half of the league…even over the past couple of years.
He was set up to fail by an incompetent general manager who didn’t know what he was doing. Ryan was given a poor offense and they responded in kind. I can’t imagine that Ryan will be on the market too long before another team swoops in and picks him up…giving him actual tools to work with.
The Jets? Ugh…they’ve only owner Woody Johnson to blame as they, once again, start a rebuilding period for the second time in five years.