Did Rex Ryan coach his way out of a job?

On Monday night the New York Jets were eliminated from playoff contention.  On Tuesday head coach Rex Ryan announced a quarterback change.  Such is life these days in Jets nation.  To say that the 2012 season has been a disappointment is an understatement as the team sunk to new lows in several areas.  The Jets offense was inept for a good portion of the season (currently averaging 18 points a game), the defense struggled in big spots, and the special teams units gave up several game changing plays.  It was truly a combined comedy of errors for a good part of the season.

So now many are trying to figure out where it all went wrong for the New York Jets. Was it the players? How about the head coach? Or did it start with the general manager? An argument can be made for each member of the entire organization but for me it starts with head coach Rex Ryan.

Rex Ryan took the Jets world by storm with his brash style and ground and pound mentality.  Ryan talked the talk and his team walked the walk with back-to-back championship game appearances.  Fast forward two years and now Rex is a coach that is dazed and confused and mostly talks in circles.  The way Ryan has handled his quarterback situation has been laughable at best.

Rex Ryan attached himself to quarterback Mark Sanchez who many, including yours truly, considered to be the team’s franchise signal caller.  The only problem with this decision is that Sanchez did not play the part of franchise quarterback.  Mark became more of the team’s problem rather than the solution.  Week after week Ryan defended Sanchez up until the point that he was forced to bench the quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals.  Rex benched Sanchez for Greg McElroy who instantly provided a spark and led the team to victory.

The following week Rex went back to Sanchez in hopes that the benching would spark the struggling quarterback.  The problem was that Ryan made McElroy inactive and made an injured Tim Tebow the #2 quarterback.  As a leader of men how can you justify making an injured player your #2 quarterback when your starter is clearly struggling? And with your team in the playoff hunt is that the best move for your organization? Mark Sanchez put up another lackluster effort but the Jets found a way to beat the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.  Luckily for Rex he was not forced to use Tim Tebow.

As the Jets headed into Monday night the team had a legitimate chance to get back into the playoff picture with a victory over the Tennessee Titans.  Once again Greg McElroy was made inactive and once again Mark Sanchez was dreadful.  Sanchez single-handedly cost the team the game with 5 turnovers.  In one of the biggest games of the season how do you not make McElroy active in case Sanchez struggles?  Don’t you as head coach owe it to your team to do so? And once Mark has lost all of his confidence after throwing numerous terrible passes how do you not bench him and let your #2 get a shot to win the game?  If you do not have faith in your backup quarterback (Tim Tebow) then why is he active?

Rex Ryan’s mishandling of the quarterback position cost this team a chance at the playoffs and should cost him his job.  As a head coach you need to do what is best for your team at all times.  You can’t play favorites and definitely cannot worry about feelings.  There is something to be said for being loyal to a player but a successful head coach needs to know where to draw the line.  Failure to make the appropriate decisions will result in a fractured locker room and dissension in the ranks (see 2011 season).

This team is clearly in need of an overhaul in terms of talent and the offense needs to be rebuilt from the quarterback down.  Based on the team’s performance on offense over the past two seasons what makes Rex Ryan the man to take on the that job?  Two different offensive coordinators, same results.

In my eyes Rex Ryan has coached his way out of the New York Jets head coach position.

About Tyson Rauch

A lifelong fan of the New York Jets and season ticket holder since 1994.

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