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Thread: Three keys are fueling the Rex Ryan revival

  1. #1
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    Three keys are fueling the Rex Ryan revival

    Three keys are fueling the Rex Ryan revival
    By Little D!cky C. | ESPN.com

    Rex Ryan deflects questions about his future, preferring to keep the focus on the team, but he didn't deflect anything on a quiet day last June, sitting at a conference table in his New York Jets office.

    This was when he was "Dead Coach Walking," when Vegas odds listed him as the NFL coach most likely to be fired. Ryan, preparing to enter a make-or-break season, was asked if he was seeking a contract extension or assurances from ownership. He shook his head.

    "No, I don't need anything," he told me. "What I'm going to do is, I get to prove it. The lame-duck deal, I haven't thought two seconds about it. I haven't.

    "I know what people are saying. Did some great players walk out the door? Did some great coaches walk out the door? Absolutely. But I'm ready. I swear I'm excited about it."

    In essence, Ryan was betting on himself. The man whose family vacation served as a metaphor for his job security -- he went to Spain and ran from the bulls on the streets of Pamplona -- was looking forward to a season of outrunning his critics.

    So far, he's winning. At 5-4, the Jets are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. If they keep it up, Ryan, signed through 2014, will receive a contract extension and votes for Coach of the Year.

    This wasn't supposed to happen this quickly. The Jets' 53-man roster last week included 33 players with less than three years of experience, including five rookie starters. This had all the makings of a rebuilding year. Heck, even owner Woody Johnson asked the fans last offseason to be patient.

    So how is Ryan doing it? Three key factors:

    He's coaching 'em up on defense: After the mutual parting with coordinator Mike Pettine, Ryan decided to become the de facto coordinator, calling the plays and running the defense on a day-to-day basis. He took some heat for the idea, admitting after the first preseason game that he didn't see a Mark Sanchez interception because his back was turned to the field while he coached up the defense on the bench. He was criticized for not caring about offense. It turned out to be an isolated brush fire.

    Ryan's game-management skills still raise eyebrows (see the curious sequence in the final minute of last Sunday's upset of the New Orleans Saints), but his work with the defense is the primary reason for the team's success. Despite seven new starters, six of whom had no NFL starting experience before this year, the Jets are ranked No. 7 in total defense and No. 1 against the run.

    The Jets finished No. 8 in total defense last season, but it was an old, slow unit that couldn't stop the run or rush the passer. Those areas are now the strengths of the defense.

    Ryan's plan before the season was to revert to their blitz-heavy approach, circa 2009, but it hasn't unfolded that way. Recognizing the front four's pass rush potential, and realizing the shortcomings of the rebuilt secondary, Ryan has used coverage-based game plans with more two-deep safety looks than in the past. They've allowed a lot of passing yards, but the style helped them beat three top quarterbacks, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

    Simply put, Ryan is showing why he's one of the top defensive minds in the sport.

    He's making nice with the new boss: Remember that silly controversy around Labor Day, when Ryan left the team on cutdown day to check out his son's game at Clemson? In some circles, it was portrayed as the beginning of the end between Ryan and new general manager John Idzik, a sign that Ryan had been marginalized in the organization.

    You never really know unless you're in the room with them, but from all indications, Ryan and Idzik are getting along well. It's an odd pairing, to be sure. In case you haven't noticed, their personalities are different.

    "Really?" Idzik joked the other day.

    Idzik had no choice but to retain Ryan, fueling many valid questions about their working relationship. These types of pre-arranged marriages rarely work in the NFL, in part, because the new GM always feels more comfortable with his own hire.

    To Ryan's credit, he has conformed to fit Idzik's buttoned-down style. He has turned into Rex Lite, measuring his words before he reveals information to the media or expresses a potentially controversial opinion. Early on, it was hard to watch, as the once-brash Ryan seemed to be afraid of his own shadow, but he has loosened up recently. Winning helps.

    "The more we work together," Idzik said, "we learn how we have a lot of similarities, not only in our upbringing, but really our view on football, view on the type of players and people that we want in the building that reflect what it is to play like a Jet and act like a Jet."

    Idzik is the grown-up in the room that Ryan needed. He's getting the best out of Ryan -- his defensive acumen and his leadership skills, filtering out all the nonsense that sometimes overshadowed the good.

    Unlike the previous two seasons, undermined by locker-room turmoil and a quarterback controversy, the Jets have remained relatively distraction-free. The question is whether Ryan can maintain the harmony. Things imploded the last two Decembers, as the Jets finished each year on a three-game losing streak.

    He's coaching the coaches: People tend to forget this, but Ryan's coaching staff was ravaged after last season's flameout. He parted ways with all three coordinators and assistant head coach Bob Sutton, among others. Ryan ended up hiring eight new coaches, which wasn't easy. Let's face it, the Jets weren't exactly a destination spot, which made it harder to attract quality.

    That much upheaval on a coaching staff can ruin a holdover head coach, who suddenly is surrounded by strangers. One of the reasons why Bill Parcells made so many coaching jumps in his career was because, for the most part, he was able to keep his trusted staff together. He didn't want to spend his time coaching the coaches.

    Ryan, using his people skills, has galvanized his new staff and, in turn, the team.

    "Golly, he can talk to a football team," said quarterbacks coach David Lee, who had no prior experience with Ryan. "I mean, he can motivate. The guy can talk to players and they love him. I saw that immediately."

    Ryan's best move was hiring offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, another coach with whom he shared no background. Despite a rookie quarterback and a rash of injuries, Mornhinweg has made the Jets competitive, if not prolific on offense. He and Ryan are a philosophical Odd Couple -- pass versus run -- but they've found a common ground.

    Over 10 months, Ryan reinvented himself and fixed a lot of problems. Technically, he's still on the hot seat, but the temperature has cooled.

  2. #2
    I'll tell you the three keys fueling the Rex revival -- Wilkerson, Snacks, and Richardson. Time to forget about the Sack Exchange, we are now in the time of Goldman Sacks.

  3. #3
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    I don't disagree with much, but winning cures all ills. Everything is groovy because we are 5-4 and just beat the Saints. But if we lose to the Bills and Ravens - a distinct possibility - it's Dead Coach Walking once again.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Reasonable man View Post
    I'll tell you the three keys fueling the Rex revival -- Wilkerson, Snacks, and Richardson. Time to forget about the Sack Exchange, we are now in the time of Goldman Sacks.
    LOL

  5. #5
    Rex is the best Jets coach in my lifetime. Despite very little talent on the offensive side of the ball the past 2 seasons coupled with bad coaching, although TS was of his choosing, the defensive side of the ball remained a strong positive. It will be foolish for the Jets to get rid of Rex.

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    I Rex!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    I don't disagree with much, but winning cures all ills. Everything is groovy because we are 5-4 and just beat the Saints. But if we lose to the Bills and Ravens - a distinct possibility - it's Dead Coach Walking once again.
    Well said.


    Jets NEED to beat the Bills next week to get to 6-4 or the rollercoaster will continue all the way to 8-8 which at this moment in time should no longer be considered a successful season.

  9. #9
    Defense is very good (because of Rex) and Geno is significantly better passer than Sanchez who can also run for 3rd down conversions in critical parts of the game. Reason for the turnaround.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Reasonable man View Post
    I'll tell you the three keys fueling the Rex revival -- Wilkerson, Snacks, and Richardson. Time to forget about the Sack Exchange, we are now in the time of Goldman Sacks.

    Surely it should be Goldman Snacks?

    or maybe Goddamn Goldman Snacks?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    I don't disagree with much, but winning cures all ills. Everything is groovy because we are 5-4 and just beat the Saints. But if we lose to the Bills and Ravens - a distinct possibility - it's Dead Coach Walking once again.
    Agreed

  12. #12
    I have said this before and I will say it again - Rex Ryan has EARNED a contract extension. If you want to split hairs about WHEN he should get that extension? Go ahead. It's dumb but whatever. The bottom line is he has already done enough to earn an extension. Honestly, how many people thought this team would 5-4 after nine weeks? I know I didn't. In fact, it was said in the press, and I agree, that if Ryan so much as sniffed a .500 record he should have been up for coach of the year. This is to say nothing about not ever having a losing record in the 2013 season. This season has been nothing short of a pleasant surprise even if the Jets did a nose dive for the rest of the season. I know that won't happen, but just saying.

    So I would be fine with Rex getting an extension right now or at the end of the season. Really makes no difference so long as he gets that extension. He did what all good coaches should do. That is surround yourself with more talented coaches. Not sure about the long term prospects of coaches like Dennis Thurman and Ben Kotwica, but so far so good. Ryan has taken most of the weight off Thurman by making the calls and Kotwica seems to have had enough of Mike Westhoff rub off on to him.

    Make no mistake about it, this IS a rebuilding team. There's too much youth and inexperience and essentially a different roster for it to be anything else. But to rebuild in this fashion is truly nice to see.

    The challenge for the future is for Ryan to get this team to win the SB. Being a Jets fan is not about pleasant surprises and making the playoffs when you should not, only to be one and done. It is for the Jets to win the SB. That's what everyone wants, right?

    He's got some big decisions to make. I do not believe that Geno Smith is the long term solution at QB. I know it is early, but I see too much carelessness with the football right now. Rex Ryan may think that Geno Smith is only keeping the seat warm until John Idzik grabs another top QB rospect out of the 2014 draft?

    Ryan also needs to build a better secondary. Right now they are getting lit up. That will always be a tendency with a Rex Ryan defense, he's NEVER going to let any opposing offense run the football if he has any control, but the secondary can still improve vastly.

    He's going to have to support what Marty Morninhinweg wants to do. That means undoubtedly adding more playmakers. More drafts focusing on offense meanwhile not allowing the defense to slip or become complacent.

    In the end, I believe Rex Ryan is up for the challenge. The players like him. They want to play for him. They like his style and that they can always trust him to have their backs in the face of the NY press. As a fan, I love his no nonsense approach. I love his brashness and how he brags about his team. He has not done a lot of that recently, but he will. When he knows he has a team that can compete for greatness, he's going to tell everyone that will listen about it. I'll be happy for that day.

  13. #13
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    Earned! The only thing Ryan has EARNED in his job security is maybe a few more positive thoughts in Woody's mind as to
    his overall decision. Rex must have the greatest P.R. person in the world because EVERYBODY is demanding he be rehired.
    But short of making the playoffs, which is a long shot anyway, how do we know what will make Woody say yes.
    I would put just as much on Stanford's coach David Shaw, to be on our sideline next year.

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    I think Ryan has def earned it.

    I think Idzik has shown himself to take his time with decisions, be methodical, & be thorough ... No reason to expect him to address Rex's contract until the offseason.

    Deciding already the Geno is not the answer doesn't seem to be a well supported position to me ... Just as the other extreme of saying he is 100% the answer would be the same. He is a work in progress who has shown both highs and lows.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by pdxjets View Post
    Earned! The only thing Ryan has EARNED in his job security is maybe a few more positive thoughts in Woody's mind as to
    his overall decision. Rex must have the greatest P.R. person in the world because EVERYBODY is demanding he be rehired.
    But short of making the playoffs, which is a long shot anyway, how do we know what will make Woody say yes.
    I would put just as much on Stanford's coach David Shaw, to be on our sideline next year.
    All you need to know in that regard is that Woody Johnson chose to retain Rex Ryan even during GM upheaval. Woody Johnson believes in Rex Ryan. He believes Rex Ryan can get the Jets to SB titles. If he did not believe this, you would have seen him clean house last season. Instead, he made any GM candidate give in to keeping Rex Ryan as the HC.

    And what out of this season could make Woody change his mind? If anything after this surprising season, Woody believes in Rex more than ever. I also think John Idzik likes Rex Ryan as a HC. He may not be into his brashness or his personal turn-ons, but those things are irrelevant. So long as Rex shows he is committed to coaching and making the Jets a better team each and everyday when he is working, John Idzik has done his job. There a lot of f*cking boobs on this site that think foot fetishes are valid reasons to fire the HC. STUPID. Nothing short of insanely idiotic and stupid.

  16. #16
    Mainejet with the not so subtle trolling attempt.

    You really should have been banned a long time ago.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainejet View Post
    All you need to know in that regard is that Woody Johnson chose to retain Rex Ryan even during GM upheaval. Woody Johnson believes in Rex Ryan. He believes Rex Ryan can get the Jets to SB titles. If he did not believe this, you would have seen him clean house last season. Instead, he made any GM candidate give in to keeping Rex Ryan as the HC.

    And what out of this season could make Woody change his mind? If anything after this surprising season, Woody believes in Rex more than ever. I also think John Idzik likes Rex Ryan as a HC. He may not be into his brashness or his personal turn-ons, but those things are irrelevant. So long as Rex shows he is committed to coaching and making the Jets a better team each and everyday when he is working, John Idzik has done his job. There a lot of f*cking boobs on this site that think foot fetishes are valid reasons to fire the HC. STUPID. Nothing short of insanely idiotic and stupid.

    Sorry, I still see David Shaw on our sideline.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Mainejet View Post
    All you need to know in that regard is that Woody Johnson chose to retain Rex Ryan even during GM upheaval. Woody Johnson believes in Rex Ryan. He believes Rex Ryan can get the Jets to SB titles. If he did not believe this, you would have seen him clean house last season. Instead, he made any GM candidate give in to keeping Rex Ryan as the HC.

    And what out of this season could make Woody change his mind? If anything after this surprising season, Woody believes in Rex more than ever. I also think John Idzik likes Rex Ryan as a HC. He may not be into his brashness or his personal turn-ons, but those things are irrelevant. So long as Rex shows he is committed to coaching and making the Jets a better team each and everyday when he is working, John Idzik has done his job. There a lot of f*cking boobs on this site that think foot fetishes are valid reasons to fire the HC. STUPID. Nothing short of insanely idiotic and stupid.
    Agreed people like SAR shouldn't be talking football with other adults

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by lamont_jordan_rules View Post
    I think Ryan has def earned it.

    I think Idzik has shown himself to take his time with decisions, be methodical, & be thorough ... No reason to expect him to address Rex's contract until the offseason.

    Deciding already the Geno is not the answer doesn't seem to be a well supported position to me ... Just as the other extreme of saying he is 100% the answer would be the same. He is a work in progress who has shown both highs and lows.
    AGREED. I want Geno to get more time to cultivate his talent before we make any rash decisions. But let me ask you this....

    If there is a top notch QB prospect looking you right in the face in the 1st round of the 2014 draft and you are the type of person that believes in taking the BAP, would you select him? I know I would. Competition brings out the best in everyone. It will provide that necessary push on Geno to make sure he does everything necessary to make himself into the best he can be. If Geno is not the answer, then you already have a very viable solution on the roster.

    I also believe Rex and Tanny's approach to never giving Mark Sanchez any pressure in the way of QB player pick-ups made him what he is today. That is, a useless player with a sense of entitlement destined to be cut. They made him feel like the king of NY when he should have been pushed to become better right from day one. Now, I am not saying he should be pushed too hard, but there is a happy medium of ever increasing pressure.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Redlichtie View Post
    Surely it should be Goldman Snacks?

    or maybe Goddamn Goldman Snacks?
    I can live with Goldman Sacks or Goldman Snacks either works and should really become a thing, a perfect homage to the Sack Exchange era but different enough to let these guys have their own identity.

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