Can Rex Ryan Keep The Jets Grounded?

Photo: Marianne O’Leary

After last season’s debacle where the New York Jets locker room divided into multiple camps, David Wyatt of Gang Green Nation asks, “Does Rex Ryan have to win a Superbowl to stay safe?”, referring to an article in Yahoo! Sports regarding NFL Head coaches on the Hot Seat.
David writes that even a 7-9 record may be good enough to keep Ryan around, adding that all head coaches should be judged both “on context and expectation,” and that patience is needed here. He adds that Tom Coughlin and Mike McCarthy both went through losing seasons before they won championships, and with Ryan being relatively new to head coaching, he’s still learning on the job.
Phil Sullivan of Jet Nation calls him “Rex Ryan 2.0”, crediting one of his readers for the moniker, and saying that Rex is maturing as a head coach.
While that’s true, I do think the Jets have big expectations this year. After 2010’s run, some expect the Jets to get right back to where they were.
There’s no denying that Ryan is a likeable guy by all accounts. He also seems to be an above average motivator, and his players love him, but his strategy of giving players great confidence by talking them up backfired last season. Green And White Report’s Rick Laughland writes that he was inflating his players’ confidence to the point where they weren’t accountable for their mistakes, but this season will be different…

The mood in the locker room has been transformed from a dysfunctional mess to an upbeat and positive group, building camaraderie and chemistry…Ryan is adopting a new approach by being more actively engaged at team meetings and accessible to all of his players.

Jets Insider writer Christopher Nimbley reported that evidence of Ryan being more involved is already taking place. Since Ryan started coaching the team, the media would talk to players and coaches after, not before practice, but Ryan has instituted a new schedule, addressing them before practice, so that he can immediately jump into watching tape and attend meetings without being distracted by the media.
I don’t see Rex not being Rex, so he’ll still talk a bit game. The problem is the Jets, like Icarus, flew too high last season. This season, the onus will be on the players to stay grounded.

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