Let me preface this whole argument by saying that I love Rex Ryan. You could argue that no Jets coach has had a more successful four-year run.
Perhaps more importantly, I've never enjoyed a Jets coach more than I do Ryan. I love having a coach who makes this team relevant through his antics and guarantees. It makes rooting for a mediocre team fun, and at the end of the day that's why we all watch. He makes being a Jets fan fun.
But Woody Johnson isn't paying him to be fun. He's paying him to win, and right now Rex isn't getting the job done.
There are plenty of auxiliary factors involved. It's hard to win without your best offensive weapon (Santonio Holmes) and the best defensive player in the league (Darrelle Revis), and the schedule makers sure haven't helped with early-season matchups against San Francisco, Houston, New England, Pittsburgh and Seattle, but Rex has missed on the most important coaching move of all.
He hasn't benched Mark Sanchez.
I'm not going to try to convince you that the Jets would be a playoff team with Tim Tebow. Honestly, I'm not sure Tom Brady could even make that happen.
By continuing to trot out Sanchez, Rex is essentially refusing to make a change out of pure stubbornness. Sanchez is his guy, and he'd seemingly rather go down with the ship than make a change that could potentially help the Jets' long-term fortunes.
Tim Tebow probably isn't the quarterback of the future in New York. But he deserves a chance to be, because Mark Sanchez definitely isn't.
These are the kind of hard, franchise-altering decisions that a coach has to be able to make, but Rex hasn't, and he doesn't seem to understand the effect it will have on the team.
Remember how Rex "lost the pulse of the team" last year? How does he expect his locker room to react when he continues to play an undeserving player without a real reason? It completely destroys the atmosphere of competition on a team when players believe playing time is given for reasons other than winning.
If Rex can't see the damage he's doing to his team, both now and in the future, by refusing to bench Mark Sanchez, then maybe he shouldn't be the head coach.
Rex often likes to compare himself to his counterpart in New England—Bill Belichick. Belichick is one of the greatest coaches of all time, and if Rex wants to get to that level he needs to start doing things the way Belichick would.
For those of you who don't remember, Bill Belichick faced a similar quarterback problem in 2001. He choose the young Tom Brady over the veteran Drew Bledsoe, and I'd say that worked out pretty well.
Bill Belichick made the hard decision he had to make for the sake of his team. If he wants to be the coach of the Jets, Rex Ryan has to ask himself if he can do the same.