For the first time in the Rex Ryan era, the New York Jets failed to make the postseason.
I’m not here to diagnose and harp on the multitude of problems that ultimately led to this disappointing 8-8 season. Certainly it was not just one thing or one person.
I’ve made it pretty clear that I would like to see Brian Schottenheimer held accountable for six straight seasons of subpar performances from the Jets offense, which is his responsibility.
Third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez did not progress as well as the Jets would’ve hoped, but I am very much convinced he will remain the Jets starter in 2012 and hopefully beyond.
Rex Ryan’s defense slipped a little bit this year, from 1st overall in 2009, to 3rd in 2010, down to 5th in 2011. While that’s still pretty impressive, it’s not exactly trending in the right direction.
The reality of the situation is that the Jets have many improvements to make, on all sides of the ball. Offense, defense, and special teams.
I trust that they will make the moves necessary to turn this team back into a legitimate contender again in 2012.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum had his worst offseason as Jets GM, a position he’s held since 2006. But he has a track record of success, and I fully support him going forward.
Rex Ryan has turned the culture around here in New York. Expectations are high year in and year out, and Ryan’s success as head coach is a big part of it.
It’s not easy to win a playoff game in the NFL. It’s especially difficult to win a playoff game on the road in a hostile environment.
Yet Ryan’s Jets have found a way to win four road playoff games against some great quarterbacks. They’ve beaten Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers in their own buildings.
That’s simply something that cannot be downplayed or disregarded when you talk about Rex Ryan’s Jets.
Did they underachieve in 2011? I would certainly say so. 8-8 is unacceptable when long playoff runs are the norm.
But I believe this season was the aberration in Ryan’s coaching tenure. He is not a flash in the pan. He did not get lucky in those playoff victories. They didn’t happen by accident.
Say what you want about how Ryan approaches the media. He has proven over the last decade or so that he is a very good football coach.
I trust that Ryan and Tannenbaum will find ways to fix the holes the Jets have and come back stronger than ever.
It’s imperative for them to draft well next April, especially with the 16th pick of the draft. If they can do that, and play their cards right in free agency, the Jets will be ok.
They have a great core of players, with future Hall of Fame guys like Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis, as well as good young talent in David Harris, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and others.
It’s not a complete overhaul that’s needed. A few tweaks here and there should be enough to put together a double-digit win team again in 2012.
I believe in Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and team owner Woody Johnson. They’ve built a strong foundation and they can build on that going forward.
The Jets will be back. It would be foolish to think otherwise. But this offseason will be an important one for this franchise. It’s now or never. The championship window will not stay open forever.