Now that Dennis Allen has been ousted in Oakland, no one’s seat is hotter than the Rex Ryan‘s. The Jets are on a four-game losing streak including an ugly blowout at the hands of the Chargers and things won’t get any easier from here.
Ryan’s tenure began with back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances but things have tailed off quite a bit since then. The confident coach got chuckles from the press room for his Super Bowl predictions in years past but he no longer makes those claims, lest he get laughed out of the building. As a blitz-happy, defense-first coach, Ryan’s teams have been fairly stingy in that department – particularly against the run – but the offense has been generally underwhelming. That side of the ball isn’t his forte and that has put added responsibility on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator. Unfortunately, neither Eric Mangini holdover Brian Schottenheimer nor Ryan buddy Tony Sparano could get things right and things aren’t shaping up much better with Marty Mornhinweg in the driver’s seat. And in a league where “What have you done for me lately?” might as well be engraved on every owner’s office door, it’s worth noting that Ryan’s run defense allowed 182 yards and two touchdowns to UDFA Branden Oliver in the San Diego blowout.
There’s little question that Ryan will be the one to pay if things don’t turn around quickly for the Jets and the coach himself admits that he won’t be back if they can’t find a way to win. And, unfortunately, the deck is stacked against Ryan with only a few cupcakes to be had over the rest of the schedule. However, it’s certainly fair to also question the decisions made by General Manager John Idzik.
Idzik, a salary cap guru, inherited a less-than-desirable financial situation from predecessor Mike Tannenbaum. This offseason the Jets had tons of cap room to work with and, inexplicably, sat on much of it. Today, as the Jets have a $24.3MM buffer between themselves and the upper limit (second only to the Jaguars), one has to wonder exactly what Idzik was thinking. Knowing that he has a head coach who often sends the house on third-and-long, the GM did little to upgrade the Jets’ secondary and watched prize free agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sign with the rival Giants after offering him a reportedly insulting deal. Eric Decker was brought in to add some much needed firepower to the offense, but there was more that needed to be done in free agency. Idzik believed that he could supplement the receiving core through the draft, but none of the three wide receivers from May’s draft remain on the 53-man roster and one – Jalen Saunders – has already been cut. Idzik wisely added Breno Giacomini to stop the Jets’ perpetual turnstile at right tackle and was fortunate to have Chris Johnson fall into his lap late in the offseason, but it looks like he fell short in many other areas.
Now, the question is, do you place the blame for this bad meal on the shoulders of the chef or the person who did the grocery shopping?