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Jets "Inaugurate" new coach Ryan

By: David J. Ford, II 1/22/2008

While the country celebrates the election of a new president, so to did the New York Jets in a manner of speaking. Rex Ryan was introduced yesterday as the 17th head coach when expectations could not be higher. Rex takes over a team recovering from a 1-4 finish over their last five games and a 9-7 record overall.

While his methods may not be so simple, his message to the media and fans was just that: "we are going to be the most physical football team in the league" Strong words from a strong man, but will that translate into wins for an underachieving franchise? During his time as defensive coordinator in Baltimore, his defense averaged an overall ranking of 4th and proved that his aggressive, opportunistic style of defensive can carry a team deep in the playoffs. Go ahead and doubt Jet fans, I dare ya.

So how do you get a defense which managed just an average ranking of 17th over the past four seasons to perform to "Baltimore" standards? Ending the "read and react" era of Mangini might be a good start; something that Ryan plans on eliminating for the upcoming season. The main criticism of the Mangini defense was the inability to close out games and to play down to their competition. Don't let me convince you of that, just look to last season. In the second half of the year, it took Favre magic to beat New England after having a 24-6 lead, and a lucky defensive play to beat to Buffalo 31-27 after the Bills had scored a combined 6 points in their previous two games. Not to mention the losses to San Francisco and Denver, in which the Jets secondary made Shawn Hill and Jay Cutler look like pro bowl quarterbacks. Ryan has his work cut out for him, but I expect an end to the soft defenses that Jet fans are so accustom to seeing.

I should have counted how many times Ryan used the word "aggressive" in his press conference; but I don't have that much free time on my hands. He did make it quite plain that this Jet team will be "aggressive on both sides of the ball and a physical football team". Of the many positives that Ryan brings to the table, he knows the formula for success in January: an all weather offense and an aggressive defense. However, I'm not convinced that he won't try to turn an offense that was in the top ten in yards and scoring last season into a run first "Billickesque" predictable type of team.

One thing above all impressed me the most about Rex Ryan. He implored the fans to get more involved at home games this year and be just as aggressive as his defense will supposedly be. This is a man who thrives on the homefield advantage and believes that teams "don't score on us at home" Last year the Ravens allowed opponents to a measely average of 10 points a game at home. If that doesn't convince you that Ryan isn't all talk, I don't know what will.

So at a time that Jet fans are still scratching their heads knowing that their team blew a golden opportunity for playoff glory, optimism has been renewed. The timing couldn't be more ironic and it even fooled Rex Ryan himself who admitted that he thought the new president was there with all the flashbulbs and cameras in the press room.

"That's ok" Ryan said, "I think we'll get to meet him (Obama) in the next couple of years anyway."


Works Cited:

All statistical data provided VIA www.nfl.com/statistics

Ryan, Rex. "New York Jets Head Coach Press Conference." New York Jets. Atlantic Health Center, New Jersey. January 21 2009.

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