Ryan Fired, Only It's Dallas Cowboys Rob Not Rex of the New York Jets

Peter AlfanoContributor IIJanuary 9, 2013

Jets owner Woody Johnson appears to look up to coach Rex Ryan.
Jets owner Woody Johnson appears to look up to coach Rex Ryan.Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Well, one team got it right when it decided to end its relationship with the Ryan coaching family.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones makes a lot of bad decisions but he made a good one when he terminated defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the twin brother of the Jets head coach.

Meanwhile as Rob was being shown the door at Valley Ranch, Rex Ryan and Jets owner Wood Johnson were meeting the media for their year-end news conference, more than a week after the season ended.

Instead of thanking Johnson for the opportunity to become a head coach and wishing the Jets success, Rex talked about "a new beginning" in 2013. Only time will tell whether it will be the final chapter instead.

Look: I don't know Rex, but after watching every minute of the press conference, I can see why Johnson likes having him as a head coach. Rex comes across as personable and sincere, and I don't think it's an act. Generally speaking, the media and fans like Rex.

But let's face it: He has failed to become a head coach, and he admitted as much on Monday. After four years he said he has not been able to impose his philosophy or personality on the offense.

Four years! How much of a learning curve does Rex Ryan need?

The most successful coaches in NFL history had teams that were accomplished on both sides of the ball. Tom Landry was a defensive coach who developed a potent offense in Dallas. Vince Lombardi was an offensive coach who had great defenses in Green Bay.

More recently Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick all specialized on one side of the ball or the other but became known for having a good defense or offense. Belichick may be the best example, a defensive coach who has had the most prolific offense of the past decade in New England.

Yes, having a great quarterback helps quite a bit, but drafting a quarterback with potential and developing him is part of a head coach's job, too.

As much as Rex Ryan might view Mark Sanchez as his football son, he has not done Sanchez any favors for the last two years, both by saddling him with inferior talent while Rex drafts defensive players and by not hiring an assistant coach who might be able to teach Sanchez.

Remember that Sanchez had only one full year as a quarterback at Southern Cal, and now we can all see what Pete Carroll meant when he said Sanchez should not have left school with a year of eligibility left.

With talented and experienced players like Jerricho Cotchery, Thomas Jones, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith as teammates, Sanchez was able to overcome growing pains to lead the Jets to the AFC Championship game in his first two years. Now he has been exposed.

Some Jets fans have commented on a story I wrote about the Jets, saying it looks as if my agenda is more about having Ryan fired more than fixing the Jets.

My point is, I doubt that you can accomplish one without doing the other.

The Jets have fired their strength coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach; their defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Rex's good friend, just took the same job with the rival Buffalo Bills.

David Caldwell, one of the Jets leading candidates for the general manager's job, is reportedly going to sign with the train wreck known as the Jacksonville Jaguars instead. What does that say about the Jets?

If keeping Rex is a requirement for the new GM, it may narrow the list of candidates.

It was as if Rex and Woody needed a week to take the pulse of Jets fans and the media and then decided that yes, Rex has failed in a significant part of his job. Defense is important, but you can't win games without scoring points. 

Watching the love fest between Woody and Rex made me more convinced that a new head coach is needed, too. If Sanchez returns, he will be playing for his third coordinator in three years. The same is true for Greg McElroy, who actually will have his fourth coordinator if you count his college coaches at Alabama.

And where will the pieces come from to make up Ryan's "attacking"  offensive philosophy? Obviously the Jets have to draft running backs, plus receivers and offensive linemen as well. Should they trade down from their No. 9 pick and try to get a lower No. 1 selection and maybe an extra No. 2 or No. 3?

Even after they release several high-priced defensive players, will they have any money to attract a decent free agent? If none of this is true and the Jets are heading for two years of rebuilding, then Rex should have been part of the demolition of the coaching staff.

Keeping him and in essence blaming everyone else around him for the Jets failures is the only thing offensive about this team.