In the past three seasons since Rex Ryan has become head coach of the New York Jets, the team and the ownership has had big hopes for a Super Bowl run but has fallen short in their quest after missing the postseason last year after going to back to back AFC championship games in the head coaches first two seasons. This year will be put up or shut up time for the Jets who will hear it from the fans and media if they fail to make the postseason again. Just last week, former New York Giant and current San Francisco 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs called out the Jets organization calling them a "circus". Here are some reasons why I think the Jets could be in trouble from the get go if they don't get things situated early enough.
Rex Ryan. It all starts with the big man on top. He was on the record last year saying it was "Super Bowl or bust" to take pressure off his team and put it all on his shoulders. His team failed to make the playoffs last season and now it seems the lovable loudmouth act from the head coach has worn itself out with his players, the media and the Jets fan base. Ryan himself has been quoted as saying he plans to tone it down this season and rightfully so. While I understand making Super Bowl predictions because he truly believes in his team, it puts added pressure on the the team who have to answer questions from the media about it all the time. They just want to focus on football and not on prediction quotes from the head coach who may be losing his locker room. As retired running back Ladanian Tomlinson was quoted as saying about last seasons bunch "it's as bad as I've ever been around."
QB controversy and the offense. During the off-season, the Jets managed to dominate the back-pages in New York (and ESPN) by trading for Tim Tebow as the backup for Mark Sanchez and in the process created somewhat of a quarterback controversy. The Jets have created a wildcat offense specifically designed for Tebow by bringing in former Miami Dolphin head coach Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator. I guess what pisses off a lot of people is how many backup QB's do you know that have an offense specifically designed for them? Coupled with the fact that no backup with a limited skill set as Tebow has never been covered ad nauseum in the media (thank you ESPN) the way he does ticks off a lot off people and makes him polarizing for some. As for the offense, they are limited in a lot of areas. A lot of NFL scouts feel QB Mark Sanchez skills took a step back last season and if you watch any of the preseason and I know it doesn't matter, the Jets offense has yet to score a touchdown in 2 games. They are very thin at running back as starter Shonn Greene has not yet proven himself to make it thru an entire season without getting injured and the backups are not much to write home about. At wide receiver, after Santonio Holmes, they are also very weak at that position. It's no wonder odds-makers in Vegas are already saying to take the under on the Jets overall win total this upcoming season.
Off the field distractions & Team Chemistry. As mentioned earlier, when Ladanian Tomlinson was with the Jets, he was quoted as saying the atmosphere in the locker room was the worst he has ever seen in all his years in the NFL and this Jets team has shown examples where it needs to police it self and keep it self away from the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In the Jets last game of the season last year against the Dolphins in Miami, Santonio Holmes got benched by Rex Ryan after getting in a argument with his teammates in the huddle and ripping the offensive line for not protecting Mark Sanchez enough to get the ball to the receivers. Then there was also reports last season that Sanchez and Holmes had a rocky relationship and weren't on the same page towards the end of the season. It showed in Sanchez play as he threw 7 interceptions in the teams last 3 games. You have to wonder if all the beef he had with Holmes coupled with some anonymous players being quoted as saying Sanchez got "lazy" because he was "pampered" and had no real threat to lose his job really got to his head. It also begs to ask the question if the Jets management bought in Tebow to lit a spark under Sanchez so he wouldn't get complacent in his position. And last last but not least there was the infamous Rex Ryan quotes that pissed off some Giants fans when he said the Jets "are the better team. We are the big brother" which former Giant Brandon Jacobs called him out for. Rex please! As I said before this team does not any added pressure with Super Bowl or "Kings of New York" predictions from the head coach. They need to focus on football because if there is anything Rex can learn from the New York football Giants and Coach Tom Coughlin is crisis management. Yes Coughlin can be a hard ass and rub his players the wrong way at times but it has produced 2 Super Bowls in 8 seasons. Whenever there were issues in that locker room, Coughlin made sure that's where it stays and it shows in the Giants discipline and play on the field.
Bottom line: It is put up or shut up time for this group. The talent is there on defense but it gets burdened by an offense that has trouble scoring at times and that will wear out a defense as good as this one. Rex Ryan also needs to stick to his word and tone down his act because you can tell it's beginning to wear on certain players on the team. Simply put, if this team goes 6-10, the fickle New York fans and media will be calling for his head the same way Bobby Valentine's head is being called for in Boston.
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