There is no question that Rex Ryan will be fired when the season comes to a close next week. He may even get fired on the plane en route back from Miami.
But does Ryan deserve to be fired?
He is one of only two coaches to come into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots in the playoffs, and he was the only coach in the AFC East since 2001 that has openly gone toe-to-toe with Bill Belichick without a shred of fear.
Ryan took the Jets farther than any coach since 1998, appearing in back-to-back Conference Championship games in 2009 and 2010, the only time that has been accomplished in Jets franchise history.
Photo by Bill Kostroun NY Post
Unfortunately for Ryan the NFL is all about "What have you done for me lately?" and lately the Jets have been moving in reverse. With a record of 25-38 since his last appearance in the post season, Ryan's teams have been in slow decline and the teams desire to part ways with him have been no secret.
In mid November the NY Post's Mark Cannizzaro broke a story that Ryan has known for quite some time that Jets GM John Idzik had zero intent of bringing Ryan back after the 2014 season.
Idzik is as much at fault as Ryan for the teams abysmal performance this season. Through the draft and free agent process, Idzik put together a roster that is barely NFL ready and hardly competitive. Their best off season move was widely considered to be the addition of Michael Vick. The move was made to push Geno Smith and allow some competition at the quarterback position. When Vick was pushed into action following a dreadful performance by Smith, he admitted in a post game press conference that he was not prepared to play that day.
Ryan continued to do the best he could with the talent he was provided in a less than ideal situation.
But let's not forget his follies and short comings as a coach. A bad team is no excuse for much of what has gone on in New York. In his six years with the Jets Ryan has taken two questionable (and highly criticized) rookie quarterbacks in the draft and has been unable to develop either one. He has also shown a severe lack of institutional control which was epitomized by Marty Mornhinweg in the Jets Week 2 loss at Green Bay.
Mornhinweg sprinted down the sideline calling time out, thinking he had called the wrong play. The Jets scored a touchdown on the play, but not before the officials recognized the time out and called the play back. Six points were taken off the board and the Jets ended up losing the game.
Imagine Josh McDaniels replicating that lapse of judgement on the Patriots sideline and costing the team a win. Belichick might fire him on the spot, or bore a whole through his soul with an icy death stare. Fans would run him out of town on a rail after having him drawn and quartered.
Mornhinweg is somehow still employed.
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
As for the quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez was taken number five overall in the 2009 draft after starting only one full season at USC. Many wondered if he was ready. Ryan offset what Sanchez lacked in experience by running the ball constantly and taking the ball out of the quarterbacks hands.
Sanchez never improved and was eventually cut after the Jets drafted Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Smith struggled to the point of being benched midway through this season and has shown little signs of improvement himself.
Ryan deserves to lose his job on "Black Monday," he also deserves a second chance to lead a team to the promised land.