FLORHAM PARK, NJ – On the heels of the second worst defeat in the Rex Ryan era, a 40-point drubbing by the Cincinnati Bengals, the Jets brass should be certain of one thing: their coach deserves a contract extension.
What? Not what you were expecting?
The timing might come off as a little premature, but now, just as the Jets roller coaster season hits its all-time low, is the actually the perfect time to remind the Jets and their fans what they have.
A good coach.
One loss, no matter how ugly, doesn’t change what Ryan has done for this team. Despite Sunday’s loss, the Jets are still 4-4. They’re still in second place in the AFC East and still technically right in the thick of playoff contention.
No one thought the Jets would be in that position halfway through the season. No one. ESPN ranked the Jets 32nd in their power rankings coming into the year, with most people expecting the Jets to get their fourth victory in December, certainly not in October, if at all.
No one, that is, except Ryan.
“A lot has been said about this football team,” Ryan said, quite defiantly, before the season started. “There are a lot of non-believers out there.”
But it’s not the confidence that Ryan should be commended for. It’s his ability to coach football.
People seem to forget Ryan’s back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 and that his defense, despite an decrease in talent, has managed to crack the top 10 every year he’s been at the helm.
Now, factor in the massive decreases in offensive talent over his tenure, the trading away of his best player (Darrelle Revis), the shifty locker room personalities the Jets imported by the bucket load, the circus that was Tim Tebow, and the fact that there’s no denying Mark Sanchez is a bad quarterback and Ryan might actually deserve a raise.
Last week, Woody Johnson said that he wouldn’t discuss Ryan’s contract situation during the season but added, “I’m happy with him. I think he’s a great teacher, a good teacher, maybe a great teacher, and a good leader.”
Ryan, too, has remained coy about his future: “I like the fact my boss said some nice things about me, that’s pretty cool. As far as anything else, I said it before and you guys get tired of me saying it, it’s not about me.”
It may not be about him just yet, but it will be.
Ryan’s $3 million per year contract runs out after this season, a sign that many interpreted as one last lame duck season for the defensive guru. But if Johnson and general manager John Idzik have any sense, they’ll run with the combo of Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg while building through the draft.
No matter how this season turns out, Ryan deserves another shot because he’s remains the Jets best shot.