Tripped up by a pushover: Rex’s style kills the jets

It turns out that the most beloved players’ coach in NFL history is nothing but an overindulgent parent at his core. That’s what Rex Ryan proves week by week, as the Jets season of such promise threatens to unravel down the stretch.

From that 45-3 Monday night massacre that should have produced ballistic anger, but didn’t, to an inexcusable sideline trip from a glorified meathead that demanded an instant firing, but only resulted in a team suspension, the Jets’ coach is showing an inability to be a disciplinarian.

For all his bluster in front of the cameras he seeks and loves, for all his personality, it turns out that Ryan is the worst kind of soft. The man who changed the tenor of the Jets with his oversized belief may just doom them from getting any further with his inability to realize when someone’s no longer worthy of that faith.

Of course, these truths go against the media caricature of Ryan as a hardass.

It’s an easy cartoon to latch onto, even if it’s largely built on a few clips on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” an MMA fight-night flip-off of some opposing fans and several news conferences from when things were going well. It doesn’t take much of a closer look to reveal that Ryan’s persona has more holes in it than Tiger Woods’ relationship with the suddenly dating Elin.

Ryan was hardly ever tough when it came to his own team. Remember, he largely excused his beloved defense for giving up 30 points to the Dolphins twice last season and painted it like some cosmic fluke. It was more of the same after Bill Belichick and Tom Brady absolutely annihilated Ryan’s supposed Super Bowl contender. Sure, Rex acknowledged the butt-kicking, but he seemed more bewildered than irate.

This isn’t a coach that throws a Parcells. Instead, he might as well take out his crew for sundaes. With extra sprinkles.

Even when strength coach Sal Alosi pulls the type of move that would have made even Rex’s old man cringe (Buddy only punched fellow coaches and set bounties on opposing players, he kept it within “the lines”), Rex cannot react decisively.

Instead, he hems and haws like he’s trying to push universal health care through Congress rather than jettison an idiot. If Ryan wants to fire Alosi from the Jets and hire him to wash his cars (off team property) at the same salary, that’s his prerogative. But for Ryan to even think that it’s all right to finesse his way through keeping Alosi employed by an NFL team shows an amazing disconnect from reality. Not to mention his soft touch.

It turns out that Ryan doesn’t just excuse his young quarterback, he excuses almost everyone from real accountability.

Go crumple up those media caricatures of the Jets’ coach. Rex Ryan isn’t tough. He’s the ultimate Marshmallow Man.

–Chris Baldwin covers the sports media for Metro.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send submissions to letters@metro.us.


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