The New York Jets have exceeded all expectations up to this point in the season. The team is 5-4, has wins over the Patriots, Saints, and the Falcons on the road. If the season ended today, the Jets believe it or not, would be in the playoffs as the 6th seed in the AFC. All this success has stirred up talk that the Jets should extend Rex Ryan right now, because previously, it was basically inevitable to almost everyone that Rex was a lame duck coach entering 2013.
First off, the Jets would be foolish to even consider giving Ryan an extension now. The team could easily go on a 7-game losing streak and completely fall apart.
There’s nothing worse than rewarding a coach before the season ends, and then the team collapses. Just ask the New York Knicks. Back in 2007, the Knicks were in the hunt for the playoffs entering March. With a record of 29-34, James Dolan felt Thomas had done enough to warrant an extension, even though the team hadn’t made the playoffs in 2 seasons, and because when a team is 5 games under .500, someone must be doing something great.
Dolan gave Thomas a multi-year extension saying that Thomas’ work, “Needs to be recognized now and not wait. I believe we have clearly seen significant and evident progress.” Dolan’s remarks are up there with some of the most clueless ever made by an owner of a professional sports team team because over the Knicks 19 remaining games, the team lost 16 of them missing the playoffs.
Thirteen months later, Thomas was fired ending arguably the most disasterous tenure of a coach/GM in SPORTS history. Those are reasons why the Jets shouldn’t give Rex an extension now, but the team should absolutely give him an extension AFTER the season for two major reasons: Marty Morhinweg and Geno Smith. If the team fires Rex, that means Marty Mornhinweg will also likely have to leave since head coaches prefer to pick their own guys for their staffs.
If there’s an MVP of the Jets season thus far, it has to go to Mornhinweg. He’s done an extraordinary job of handling rookie Geno Smith, and the team appears to be getting more and more comfortable with his system every week. With Mornhinweg gone, the Jets would have to hire the teams 4th offensive coordinator in the last 4 years. Everything Geno Smith learned under Mornhinweg would basically have to be thrown out the door, and once again the idea of building around an offensive system goes away. The Jets reacted impulsively firing Brian Schottenheimer after the 2011 season, even though he helped lead the team to back to back AFC Championship games and Tony Sporano was shown the door after one year. All the Jets have to do is take a page out of the New York Giants playbook. There may not be a more scrutinized offensive coordinator in the NFL than Kevin Gilbride of the Giants. It seems as if every season the fan base is calling for his head, but the Mara and Tisch families have hung on and won 2 Super Bowls as a result. The Giants were able to build an offensive system that everyone on the team got used to, and won CHAMPIONSHIPS, which should be the goal. Firing Rex Ryan would only set the franchise back from where it ultimately wants to go, and that’s winning the teams first title since 1969. So Woody Johnson, please don’t pull a James Dolan and please don’t ruin something good for the Jets.