How Does Rex Ryan Still Have A Job?
Rex Ryan is at risk of losing his job at any moment. Considering he's in New York, it's a miracle he's made it this far. Ryan has supposedly been on the hot seat for ages. And things have only gotten worse as the New York Jets continue to look like a hopeless team. So, why hasn't Rex Ryan gotten fired yet?
At the beginning, Ryan really put the best foot forward.
In his first season, Ryan was 9-7 with a rookie quarterback. Ryan's star pupil and first round draft pick, Mark Sanchez performed admirably and took the Jets to the AFC Championship game. In his second season, the Jets bettered their record going 11-5, but it all ended with the same result. They lost again in the AFC Championship game. Those two seasons were the best of Ryan's career. He hasn't had a winning season since, finishing 8-8 or worse. He's never won the AFC East.
But it's easier not to start over. Fans may want it, but management owes Sexy Rexy a fair amount of money -- though it sounds they made it very easy to fire him without eating too much money after 2015. Plus, he's never finished last in the AFC East. That's something, right? And he also had some really good coaching moves, like signing Ladainian Tomlinson.
He's also done a good job with draft picks (that aren't quarterbacks). He had only seven draft picks in his first two years. For a point of comparison, he made 12 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. So it's amazing that so many of them have succeeded. There was bound to be a lapse in talent following those sparse drafts. Still, he has put together an amazing defensive line with Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples. He also hit on Demario Davis. He didn't pick David Harris or Darrelle Revis, but he had a hand in coaching them into the players they are today. They are Top 5 and Top 15 talents at their positions, respectively.
But defense is only 40 percent of job security. In today's NFL, the other 60 percent is offense. People seem to get more angry when they're offense sucks. That's what people pay to see. And Ryan really hasn't put it together on offense. Evidence? Draft picks: Mark Sanchez, Stephen Hill, Greg McElroy, Brian Winters, Bilal Powell. If that's not enough, remember when he signed Tim Tebow? I mean, come on! He practically asked to be fired.
His contract makes it easiest to fire him at the end of 2015. He knows this, and thus he's likely pulling out all the stops to attempt to show that the Jets can turn things around next year -- because this year is clearly a lost cause. So he traded for Percy Harvin and shipped off picks that he'd probably never have the pleasure of selecting. But if Michael Vick can help the Jets hobble into the offseason with dignity, and the defense continues to be elite, Ryan may keep his job. It's definitely unlikely, but it is possible.
If Ryan can instill some shred of confidence while also finishing in the bottom 10 of the league, he will have a bounty of options at quarterback. Marcus Mariota, Bretty Hundley, Connor Cook and Jameis Winston all have the talent to turn a franchise around -- even the Jets. It would be a fascinating turn of events for Ryan.
However, it doesn't seem possible to pull up the Jet -- the crash is almost imminent. So he'll dawdle around until the end of this season, and he'll smile and continue to be a (sort of) likable guy. Meanwhile, the Jets will sharpen the axe for Week 17. And some other coach will pick a quarterback in the Top 10. And probably just like Ryan did, the next coach will take the Jets to the playoffs -- because they seem like a team that could turn the corner.
Rex Ryan has a stellar future as a defensive coordinator. He does not, however, have a stellar future as the Jets' head coach.
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