Great read, I really enjoy Pryce's works. He has some serious writing talent.
By TREVOR PRYCE
In 2001, I was a member of a Denver Broncos defense that was, in all honesty, a mess. The defensive coordinator at the time was Greg Robinson, whose favorite saying was, “Guys, it’s never as bad or as good as you think it is.” And in most instances he was right. Sometimes a little perspective is needed. But in the case of the Jets and Rex Ryan, that perspective does not exist.
If every team had the exact same talent level on its roster, and commanding an N.F.L. sideline involved nothing more than X’s and O’s, Ryan would be one of the more revered coaches in sports. He is a brilliant strategist, a man who works to the point of exhaustion and possesses a passion for and knowledge of football that is unmatched. Combine that with the fact that no coach in the N.F.L knows how to get more out of less, and you have the makings of a perennial championship contender.
Sadly for Ryan’s fans and friends, being a head coach these days has very little to do with X’s and O’s and more to do with your personality. And the two personality traits that are stopping him from being a great head coach are the same two that make him a great human being: He is loyal to the point of defiance, and he cares enormously about the people around him.
Bill Belichick displays neither of those traits, certainly not while coaching.
It’s why on a whim and following a stiff breeze, the man some call Darth Hood traded defensive end Richard Seymour, who was still in his prime and seemingly destined to be a Patriot for life, to the mess that is the Oakland Raiders for a few draft picks. For two years, Ryan has stuck with a quarterback who played as if he were trying to get him fired.
Ryan’s players and staff felt awful for their coach and friend when private moments in his life became public and embarrassed him and his family. In contrast, John Harbaugh had to quell a potential player mutiny in Baltimore two months ago. In Tampa Bay, some players reportedly wanted Greg Schiano and his staff sent back to college.
Eagles Coach Andy Reid fired the defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during the season, as if it was somehow Castillo’s fault that the players Reid picked had no interest in tackling. Ryan gave a friend, the former Pro Bowl defensive back Mark Carrier, the job coaching the Jets’ defensive line in 2010. Did it matter that Carrier knew next to nothing about defensive line play the day he inherited Shaun Ellis, Sione Po’uha and Kris Jenkins? Not to Ryan.
Being an N.F.L. coach is the ultimate study in “him or me” politics. You have to be willing to sacrifice just about anyone in your organization for the greater good. To a coach, the “greater good” often means protecting your own job security first. And that is the last thing Ryan wants to do.
Even with someone as polarizing as the former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, whose relationship with Ryan eventually grew contentious, Ryan’s first choice would have been to work it out. They parted on mutual terms because the last thing Ryan was going to do was fire a guy he believed in. No matter what.
Ryan somehow winds up with players nobody wants and then talks about them as if they are Pro Bowlers in order to build their confidence. In some cases, he is right, and the player ends up being a contributor for years. Bart Scott is one of the most successful examples. But in way too many cases Ryan is wrong, and that reality eventually becomes painfully apparent. The examples of defensive end Aaron Maybin and all of his current quarterbacks come to mind.
No one ever said Ryan was not a tough coach or a competitor. He is. It’s the reason he used to record the fights in practice and took the Jets to two A.F.C. championship games in a row. But these days being tough is not quite enough. In today’s world of access and social media, a head coach also has to be cold and calculating.
However, the debacle that was Monday’s loss at Tennessee was probably the day of change. Because when Ryan looks back on this season, it is going to harden him and change him.
The day is going to come when his player and coaching decisions will be made with the same cutthroat efficiency that you find in places like New England, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Ryan will realize he has no choice but to develop that same poisonous “him or me” attitude that permeates almost every other head coach in the N.F.L. And on that day the Jets will gain one of the better head coaches in the league. At the same time they will lose one of its better human beings.
And that is sad, because as Greg Robinson used to say, “It’s never as bad as you think it is.”
Trevor Pryce played in the N.F.L. from 1997 to 2010, including four seasons for Rex Ryan.
Great read, I really enjoy Pryce's works. He has some serious writing talent.
Pryce owns indie label Outlook Music. He has written several screenplays and sold two of them, including a children's picture to Sony Films.
Jets’ Pryce Pursues a Hollywood Career
Published: October 24, 2010
Last edited by C Mart; 12-22-2012 at 09:44 AM.
Great read. And hard to argue with anything he said.
This is the reason I want to give Rex one more year. He needs to go through these tough times. And hopefully he goes through them growing the next year. (Hopefully that's the thought behind the Pettine move and not because he's being fired)
He's going to have to cut a lot of bait on the defensive side. Dump Sparano. And find a new leader for the offense. All huge steps for Rex.
But like Pryce said on the other side, he's a great defensive mind and I think it would be stupid to give up so fast on that.
Good read. It helps explain a lot about Ryan's decision making.
I hope he's right and Ryan does change... But I wouldn't fault Ryan for not being that guy if he doesn't want to be that person... He'd just have to go elsewhere because this crap is getting old...
great article, he is 100% right.
Great article, totally enjoyed the read. I think Rex learned from last year and it showed this year in some aspects and I believe if he gets next year that we will also see him grow as a coach. Since being a Jet fan since 1970 i'm just not ready to give up on a coach who brought us to two straight AFC championship games in a row and currently does not have a overall losing record since being here. Rex will go to another team and his defense will shut the Jets down everytime we play and some of you current Rex haters will be cryin about why did we ever let him go! Jet fans WAKE UP! It's been a pretty good ride under Rex!
I think Tanny is the one most at fault here. Rex has made mistakes as well but our cap situation is not on Rex. That is what's probably gonna eventually cost Rex his job when he can't put a team on the field next year that can compete for the playoffs because Tanny screwed us for the next couple of years.
Rex is Wade Phillips.
Rex does not have to make a wholesale change to how he goes about coaching. He should look at people who were like him relationship wise and emulate them. Dick Vermeil comes to mind for me. The goal should then be to have a no nonsense GM, OC and DC who Rex can lean on to be disciplinarians...
Time for a new DC and OC next year. Further, promote a GM from within only because I don't think Rex goes. See how two new coordinators and a rookie GM work out... Once you decide Rex is not your guy, then you clean house!!!
Rex has too much of his mom in him?
Not naming names, but there are some people on this board that want Rex fired and Sanchez to stay. Given that excuse of Sanchez needs more time to grow.
What people forget is that Rex is also a rookie HC. And I think that this season will be a wake up call for him.
LOL, ouch. Pretty interesting article. Basically he's saying you need to become a terrible human being like BB, Reid and Harbaugh if you want to succeed in the league:He is loyal to the point of defiance, and he cares enormously about the people around him.
Bill Belichick displays neither of those traits
I don't think being calculating and professional necessarily means you're giving up some sense of humanity. His thesis is a bit over the top.And on that day the Jets will gain one of the better head coaches in the league. At the same time they will lose one of its better human beings.
Rex's problem is that he is too loyal. He strikes as the kind of coach who will be really successful in his 2nd HC job. Sadly, that doesn't help the Jets a lot. Also, he never even had a decent backup QB (Clemens, Old Brunell, Tebow), whether you think that's on him, Tannenbaum, or both (My opinion) - that's part of the reason Sanchez has gotten so many opportunities to succeed.
Rex is loyal to a fault, Rex is terrible at picking players, Rex is terrible evaluating offense, Rex is terrible as picking coaches, Rex is poor in game management, on and on and on.....
When are the excuses going to end? This team needs wholesale changes top to bottom, including Rex.