No matter how much we improve, and how much more intelligent we all get as the years go on, there just never seems to be a shortage of things that leave people with any kind of common sense scratching their heads. Take me for example. Anyone who knows me would tell you “he’s PRETTY stupid”. Guilty. But even I’m smrt (wink) enough to know that if you have a football team that is outstanding defensively and really needs an offensive mind running the show that you don’t bring in Rex Ryan. Yet, that’s just what the Buffalo Bills did.
Rex is a lot of things. He’s colorful, he’s abrasive, he’s loveable, and he’s one of the best defensive co-ordinators in the NFL. But he isn’t a great head coach and more so than that, he has no clue how to get anything out of his offense.
This is one reason I so often defend Mark Sanchez. I remember 2009 and the build up to the 09 draft. Heading into that draft, Sanchez was the hot name. Matt Stafford was going 1st to the Lions, but Sanchez rocketed up everyone’s draft boards, it wasn’t just the Jets who were in love with the guy. GM’s and scouts not only loved his talent but found him to be an engaging guy and a great leader. He had the “it” factor that everyone is always searching for in their QB’s.
In his first 2 seasons in the league, it was people were right about him and it looked as though he was on his way to a Tom Brady like career in leading the Jets to the AFC title game in back to back seasons. In the second of those two seasons (2010) he defeated Manning and Brady, both on the road, to get there.
But what happened with Mark? He eroded under Rex Ryan. The entire offense did. The Jets rarely spent high draft picks on offensive talent and when they did they took raw guys who didn’t have the ability to step right in (Stephen Hill). The offensive line started to deteriorate, the running game became below average, and soon the Jets were a laughing stock again.
This all happened under Rex’s watch. So why is a team with no QB and one of the best D’s in football hiring THIS guy?!
My guess is that everyone loved him. Again I go back to all the things that Rex is. I would guess that if I were to meet Rex sometime I would find him to be one of the coolest guys I would ever meet. I would be raving about having met Rex Ryan, much the same way people rave about meeting Brian Burke in the hockey community. Tells it like it is and has that bar stool/common man quality. He’ll win the press conference as he did yesterday when he was introduced by the Bills. But that doesn’t win football games.
So who was better? Mike Shanahan comes to mind. Marc Trestman also comes to mind. And people would likely say “those guys both were train wrecks in the end as well!” Yes, but they fit the need for the Bills better. And in the case of Shanahan I would suggest that franchise has always been a train wreck with or without him. In the case of Trestman, I believe the organization totally ignored the defensive side of the ball for far too long and this season it caught up with them.
Now the Jets aren’t the most functional organization in sports, but I don’t think they’re the shit show they get made out to be either. Under Eric Mangini they weren’t, nor were they under Herman Edwards. They had not been since 1996 in Rich Kotite’s final season as head coach. That is until things started to deteriorate under Ryan.
Maybe Rex will learn. Maybe he’ll bring in a Marc Trestman to be his offensive co-ordinator and let it be Marc’s show. For the sake of Bills fans I sure hope that’s the case. But I doubt it. More likely than not, the Bills made a hire based on PR rather than football and this organization will continue to spin it’s tires for another 2-3 years until they figure out that the hire didn’t work.
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