Rex Ryan – The Man, The Myth … The Legend?
Rex Ryan has lived, breathed and slept football ever since he returned to the United States from Canada, where he grew up. Yep, that’s right. Ryan grew up in Canada … not that there’s anything wrong with that. I wonder if he’s watched Canadian Bacon. No Canadian I’ve ever met has watched it, which I think is a little odd as it is one of John Candy’s best movies and shows just how polite the Canadians are.
Back to Rex. Like I said, the guy eats football for breakfast, lunch and dinner, though perhaps in leaner portions after his 2010 lap-band surgery. His prowess as a defensive coordinator is unparalleled. In fact, he helped the Baltimore Ravens win SuperBowl XXXV, allowing only 23 combined points in four total playoff games. Wow!
But can he do the replicate his success as head coach? So far he has failed, though I’m optimistic nonetheless. Recall that he was ecstatic to get his first head coaching gig in New York in 2009, drafting Mark Sanchez to be the face of the franchise, and immediately turned the Jets into a winning team.
The “Sanchize” as Mark is known in New York, did his part by dating Kate Upton, who needs no introduction, but is pictured below (with clothes on … which is not easy to find).
Mark Sanchez also effectively managed Ryan’s run-first offense, depending on the defense to keep the Jets competitive. It was a strategy that worked for a couple of years.
That is, until video of a woman who looks like Rex’s wife Michelle, along with a voice that sounds like Rex’s surfaced showing the two having intimate discussions about her feet … While Woody Johnson and staff supported Rex’s non-comments about the videos, keeping his answers to “it’s a personal matter,” this marked the beginning of the unraveling of Rex Ryan and the NY Jets. In 2011, the Jets strayed from their run-first offense and experienced issues in the locker room and in the press by unhappy players. But, as bad as 2011 was, 2012 was that much worse.
For one, the Jets picked up Tim Tebow. Who was terrible. Just terrible. Inserting Tebow into the game randomly to ineffectively run the ball also screwed with Sanchez’s ability to quarterback the team and with his rhythm in my opinion. If you can’t play every down as a quarterback, you are not going to be able to get comfortable reading the defense, get your timing down and get in sync with your teammates on offense. This disaster culminated in … yup, you guessed it, the butt fumble.
Let’s hope Chip Kelly has Tim Tebow playing a different role in Philadelphia. I can’t believe that Sanchez is happy see Tebow in training camp!
Following the butt fumble, in 2013, Rex and management, decided they needed a new face, drafting another quarterback, Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft. Geno got his start soon enough … when Rex decided to play Sanchez late in a preseason game behind a second-team offensive line (i.e., a game that didn’t matter in the least), leading to Sanchez’s season ending injury. Yeah, that was stupid, Rex (assuming it was his decision). But it accomplished what I think management wanted; Geno as starting quarterback (which was also stupid).
If you ask me, Sanchez got a raw deal. He was an effective game manager … the rest of the offense simply did not want to play. I remember seeing dropped pass after dropped pass by the Jet’s wide receivers … passes that should have been caught. But Sanchez took the brunt of it because after the fourth or fifth dropped pass, he would throw an interception. It didn’t help that he was also in New York …
This is why, Sanchez’s move to the Eagles was good for him. In Philly, Mark has less media attention. In fact, it is difficult to figure out who he is, or rather who he isn’t dating right now! Seems to be quite the ladies’ man with a list of ex-girlfriends that rivals Derek Jeter’s.
Back in New York, Rex Ryan was head coach for two more utterly forgettable NY Jets seasons, leading to his unceremonious firing in 2014 after an awful 4-12 record.
Why then am I optimistic about Rex? With less media scrutiny in Buffalo, Rex, like Mark will be able to shield his personal life and foot fetishes from the spotlight and focus on what he knows best … football. It helps that he’s got the support of the Buffalo Bills faithful.
And he can finally get Mark Sanchez out of his life … having gotten his tattoo re-colored (it used to be of his wife sporting Sanchez’s No. 6 jersey).
If he didn’t change the No. 6, it matches the Buffalo Bill’s punter Colton Schmidt’s number, who may or may not be still known as “Legatron.” Apparently, Legatron is a selfie lover. Wonder if he has his own selfie stick … Hysterical!
Oh yeah, back to Rex … whether his Buffalo nickname “sexy Rexy” will stick, I’ll leave to the Buffalo Bills faithful.
No doubt Ryan made mistakes in New York that hopefully won’t be repeated in Buffalo. My sense is that if he sticks with what he knows and does best, the Buffalo Bills will be an interesting team to watch next year. Hell, I want in onthe Bills-Jets game on Thursday, November 12, 2015, in East Rutherford, NJ!
Will Rex Ryan prove that it was the New York Jets management that sucked? Does Rex Ryan have the ability to cut it as a head coach? Will he go down in the record books as not only a legendary defensive coordinator but also head coach? Only time will tell, but I, for one, think he is on the right path.