Analysis: Jets prove to be ‘Smart and Smarter’

At some point, it just needs to stop. Hopefully the Jets 24-6 victory over Miami on Monday night is just the ticket.

Last week, the New York Daily News ran a back-page photo of Jets head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannebaum standing together and captioned it “Dumb & Dumber.” The reference to the Jim Carrey cult classic comedy notwithstanding, the criticism of the two men most responsible for the success of the Jets over the past two seasons centered on the team’s handling of the Derrick Mason situation. Mason was traded from the team on Tuesday with Tannenbaum saying that “things didn’t work out on the field with Derrick.”

But while it is clear that Mason’s performance was lacking — he had 13 catches for 115 yards through five games — it is unfair for the media or fans to get on the Jets about their handling of this one. No one bought Tannenbaum’s explanation — one that was backed up two hours later by Ryan in his press conference — but there is more to it than that.

Ryan and Tannenbaum should be held to a high standard and there have been some head-scratching moves from Jets management this year. Failing to land Nnamdi Asomugha in the free agent market, letting go of the productive Braylon Edwards for nearly the same price they got Plaxico Burress and the inability to shore up their linebacker depth were all puzzling moves that could cost the team wins this year. Truth be told, they probably already have.

But consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances over the past two years for the first time in franchise history are a testament to the fact that Ryan and Tannenbaum are collectively doing something right. The knee jerk reactions have to stop.

A couple weeks ago, the “Occupy Florham Park” movement popped up on the internet and hopefully it stays there. A take on the “Occupy Wall Street” mass gatherings, it is a sign of the times that Jets fans are so spoiled that a 2-3 start to the season is enough to send them into an emotional tailspin.

Things aren’t perfect in Jets land. The play calling on offense is still suspect, the offensive line is questionable and the defense has a worrisome lack of speed. But these inadequacies are not enough to say these are the “Same Old Jets.”

There are times that Ryan makes eyes roll and other times it is hard to believe what he says. But what the affable Jets coach has done over two years, under the direction of Tannenbaum, has been laudable. Turning around a franchise labeled a laughingstock is no small matter. There’s nothing dumb about the results the Jets have had the past two years.

His methods might be unorthodox and the Super Bowl promises are growing wearisome, but Ryan and Tannenbaum have certainly earned the right to be proud of their work together. There are things wrong with this team and given the talent at nearly every position, there is no reason that they should be 3-3 and in third place in the division. While Ryan and Tannenbaum should be held accountable for their moves in piecing together this team, no team has made it to within one game of the Super Bowl in each of the past two years besides the Jets.

And for 31 other teams in the league, there is nothing dumb about that.

Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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