Two Bad Traits That Don’t Go Great Together

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

Jason over at NYJetsCap.com has a great article in which he does a quick recap of the Jets game/season and he talks about a lot of topics.  It’s well worth the read, but two of the most interesting points in his article were about Rex Ryan’s fatal flaw and how that plays into Tanny’s.

First, Rex.

Over the last 4 seasons the Jets have grown blind to reality. That was the biggest negative of Rex Ryan and it is going to cost the general manager and countless number of front office personnel their jobs. Today was the perfect example of it as Ryan once again refused to pull out the overpaid and overhyped QB that clearly cant play at the NFL level right now. His head isn’t right and keeping him out there just makes it worse. Everytime he threw a bad pass today or turned it over he had this look on his face like its not his fault. That wasn’t leadership. Having an opposing stadium chanting for the backup QB(or at least that was the Twitter reports on it) only makes it worse. But Ryan is guided by gut feelings, personal relationships, and hope. That doesn’t work in todays NFL.

Rex looks around that room and he sees many familiar faces that helped get him to championship games. Bart Scott doesn’t belong on the field, but he was the heart of two defenses that got Rex there and a big contributor on ones that got him a head coaching job. He believes that the old Bart Scott still exists. Unfortunately this is the NFL and it doesn’t. He sees Calvin Pace and Eric Smith and sees his starting linebackers and safety on a team that almost made the Super Bowl. They cant play, but Rex doesn’t see that.

Now, Mike.

It points out a damaging problem with the current general manager who has proven to just take on the personality of his coach. Its unheard of in sports. Normally you develop a team culture and then find a coach that fits that culture or becomes part of it. The Jets have no team culture. It’s the voice of the moment. A strong GM would have never seen the organization transform from the Eric Mangini Jets to the Rex Ryan Jets. It was a philosophical shift so strong and so fast that it is unheard of in sports or business. When people talk of culture in the NFL and winning ways it’s a commitment to a franchise philosophy. That doesn’t mean you keep everyone forever as some state but you keep your vision the same. The Giants and Steelers always have the same vision despite the changing faces. That is what the Jets need and their GM does not give it to them. He acquiesces too much to his coaches.

Yes exactly.  It sounds mean to say, but Rex Ryan has a positivity problem.  I’m not some heartless cynic, but I do know when I see blind loyalty and Rex has that problem big time.  I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s terrible when it goes unchecked by the team’s GM.

To a degree, a front office needs to help a coach get the type of players that will work in their system, but ultimately it’s the GM and front office’s job to set the tenor and priority of the organization and make sure the coach is on board.  Not the other way around.  The vestiges of the smart money contracts that focused on de-escalators for players that could easily get them out of big money deals are a thing of the past for the Jets.  As Jason writes on his site, big contracts, draft picks, everything was done with the assumption that it would just work.  In some ways it’s the same type of blind logic that brought down the economy four years ago.

Earlier this week, I wrote that if the Jets were to make a change at the GM spot, that I argued that it wasn’t so much because Tannenbaum was an unfit evaluator of talent, but that they needed someone who understood talent evaluation enough to challenge Ryan’s thinking.  Rex Ryan needs a counterpoint and “someone strong enough from a evaluation standpoint to tell [Ryan] no.”

Somewhere between the transition from Eric Mangini to Rex Ryan, we learned about this pliability of the team’s GM.  Since Tannenbaum will likely only get the chance to work with two coaches in New York, we’ll never know for sure, but I would hazard a guess that it had more to do with professional survival for Tannenbaum than much else.  Ryan was Woody’s hire, and it was Tannenbaum’s job to make it work.

Writing that of course gives me second thoughts about firing Tannenbaum, are the Jets about to get it wrong?  Is Rex really the root cause of the problem?

Whatever the answer to that question, there might be a justice to it.  Tannenbaum pushed Favre on Mangini who sold out his principals to agree to the idea.  Then, after that collapse when Ryan came in, Tannenbaum might have similarly sold out his 2006-2008 cap management principals to keep his job.

I don’t think that we’ll ever know for sure, but I do know that all the Jets can do is get a strong talent evaluation GM, open to working with Ryan, but whom will also challenge the coach.