Rex Ryan claimed that this is his best Jets team since he's been coach. Red the full article from nfl.com here. This is the actual quote:
"I really like this team. I really like this team. I don't know if we're strong in this one area or that one area or special teams, whatever it is, but overall in my opinion, this has the chance to be the best team I've had since I've been the coach here. And I say that because I think we understand complementary football. Sometimes, your offense is going to be rolling. Sometimes, you're going to have to ask your defense to stand on their head. Our coaching staff, everybody understands it's not about winning, it's not about stats, it's about trying to find a way to win, and I think our team understands that."Okay, digest that for a second. It's pretty obvious that Ryan was not exactly sober when he was saying this. This Jets team is actually the worst of his teams since becoming coach in 2009. You disagree? Let's put that to the test.
I will name the starters for each of his four teams, including this year, starting with the beginning of the Rex Ryan era, 2009.
2009 New York Jets
Result: 9-7, 2nd in AFC East, Lost in AFC Championship Game
Wild Card Playoffs: Beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-14 one week after the Bengals essentially chose this matchup.
Divisional Playoffs: Upset the Chargers 17-14 on the road for the second time in five years.
AFC Championship Game: Led early in the game, but were dominated once Peyton Manning went into unstoppable mode, losing 30-17
The Jets were 7-7 with two games left in the season. After their Week 15 loss against the Atlanta Falcons, Rex Ryan memorably declared the team eliminated from the playoffs. At the time, they weren't but it seemed like a foregone conclusion.
The next week, the Indianapolis Colts showed up with their 14-0 record. The question all week was whether or not the Colts, who had locked up a playoff spot and a playoff bye week already, would go for a perfect season or sit their starters to avoid injury and keep them fresh for the postseason. Peyton Manning and the rest of the first team played until about midway through the third quarter, at which point Curtis Painter and his flowing blonde locks entered the game. Almost immediately he turned the ball over twice and the Jets went on to win.
The next week, yet another team essentially laid down for the Jets, but for different reasons. With their win over the Colts, New York improved their record to 8-7, and were in contention for the playoffs. The Houston Texans won earlier in the day, ending the season at 9-7 and the first winning record in franchise history. They were the only other team in contention, because the Baltimore Ravens had locked up a playoff spot with their win. The Jets/Bengals game was moved to the Sunday Night Football slot, due to the flex scheduling rules, so I had to give up my tickets because I had school the next day. If the Jets won, they would face the Bengals the next week in Cincinnati, and if the Bengals won, they would face the Ravens at home. Apparently, the Bengals felt that the Jets were an easier opponent, as they came out flat and gave up by halftime. The Jets won an emotional game, 37-0.
The Jets went on the shock the Bengals even though it was a shock to no one else. They beat the Chargers in yet another Chargers Classic disappointment. In the AFC Championship Game, Peyton Manning put together an amazing second half, taking control of the game. I still consider that to be the best half of football by any one player that I have ever watched.
Now let's take a look at the roster:
QB Mark Sanchez. He was a rookie and made some bad decisions at times, but turned into a super effective game manager in the playoffs.
RB Thomas Jones ran for 1,402 yard and 14 TDs, a very good season. Leon Washington was the primary backup until he broke his leg . He also did a nice job of running their version of the Wildcat offense, known as the Seminole after Washington's college football team, the Florida State Seminoles. Shonn Greene stepped up in Leon's absence, and looked really good. The team led the NFL with 172 rushing yards per game. This was the combination that caused Rex Ryan to begin talking about Ground and Pound.
FB Tony Richardson. Great blocker, good hands, a lot of experience.
WR Jerricho Cotchery opened the season as the top receiver, and but that changed when the team traded for Braylon Edwards in October.
WR Cotchery became the second option, with Brad Smith and David Clowney after them. They lacked depth.
TE Dustin Keller started to become Sanchez's security blanket. He was fine.
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson made his first Pro Bowl.
LG Alan Faneca made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team the year before and in 2009.
C Nick Mangold, along with Faneca made both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams in 2008 and 2009.
RG Brandon Moore was still considered a very good guard even though he didn't receive any honors or awards.
RT Damien Woody was a highly respected veteran leader who did well in run blocking.
DE Shaun Ellis served a suspension to begin the season, but was the best player on the line. He went on to the Pro Bowl
NT Kris Jenkins was great in the middle before he tore his ACL, ending his season. He was replaced by Sione Pouha who did a nice job preventing the run.
DE The terrible mix of Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito, and Ropati Pitoitua. A real weakness in the top ranked defense in the NFL.
OLB Calvin Pace was also suspended at the start of the year, and in turn subjected Jets fans to the eyesore that is Vernon Gholston on an NFL field. Pace saved the day by returning.
MLB David Harris made Second Team All-Pro.
MLB Before Bart Scott became the old and slow Bart Scott that he is now, he was an important and good player. He was really good at stopping the run.
OLB Bryan Thomas was Bryan Thomas, being a leader and making some good plays.
CB Darrelle Revis made his first All-Pro team and second Pro Bowl. He made a legitimate case for defensive player of the year, but lost out to Charles Woodson. This was the year that Revis Island was established, dominating receivers week in and week out and for that, New York city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg renamed Manhattan "Revis Island" the day before the AFC Championship Game. Rex Ryan was not happy about the DPoY vote, so he had this to say:
"This, in my opinion, was the best year a corner has ever had, the most impact a corner has ever had in the National Football League. That's my opinion. Apparently, that wasn't how everybody felt. A number that I think would be interesting would be eight, and no, that's not the amount of touchdown passes that Green Bay (Woodson's team) gave up against Arizona (the Packers lost 51-45 in the highest scoring playoff game in history. The Packers actually gave up five passing touchdowns). That is the number of touchdown passes we gave up all season, and the biggest reason for that is Darrelle Revis."FS Kerry Rhodes played very well in his final year in a Jets uniform, which is why so many Jets fans were sad to see him go.
SS Jim Leonhard was great. His toughness and intelligence were key to this defense.
CB Lito Sheppard was a complete debacle. He played well the year before in Philadelphia, but he turned out to be a terrible acquisition. Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Donald Strickland all did well covering for him in addition to their nickel cornerback responsibilities.
K Jay Feely was inconsistent at times.
P Steve Weatherford was pretty good, but will be remembered for throwing an interception against the Buffalo Bills in a Week 6 game, adding to the total of 6 picks thrown by the Jets in that game.
PR Cotchery took care of returns along with Brad Smith.
KR Smith scored a return touchdown this year, and got a lot of return yardage. He and Leon Washington formed a great duo before Washington went down with his injury.
Total Offense: 20
Total Defense: 1
2010 New York Jets
Result: 11-5, 2nd in AFC East, Lost in AFC Championship Game
Wild Card Playoffs: Beat the Indianapolis Colts in a fourth quarter comeback, with the winning field goal being drilled through the uprights by Nick Folk as time expired, leading to the 17-16 victory.
Divisional Playoffs: They beat their biggest division rival, the New England Patriots 28-21 in the most exciting Jets games that I have ever watched. Of course, after the game, Bart Scott was interviewed by Sal Paolantonio.
AFC Championship Game: They came out flat, most likely still basking in the glow of their win over the Pats, and fell down 24-3 at halftime. The defense stiffened up and the offense led a comeback, but it was not enough, losing 24-19.
Overall, this team was better than 2009, and this was the year. I had picked the Jets to lose in the Super Bowl to the Packers before the season, and that nearly came true. Management made a really good effort to improve the team, and put all their eggs into the 2010 basket. So close.
QB Mark Sanchez improved from his first year, once again stepping up in the playoffs. He was also really good in the regular season, especially earlier in the year, leading the team in many comeback victories.
RB Shonn Greene was supposed to be the feature back, but future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson did well himself. They ranked 4th in rushing yards per game in 2010.
FB Tony Richardson. John Conner was pretty good in his rookie year.
WR Braylon Edwards started the year as the top guy because Santonio Holmes was suspended.
WR Santonio Holmes returned and had great chemistry with Sanchez. Cotchery and Smith rounded out the crew.
TE Dustin Keller
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson made another Pro Bowl.
LG Matt Slauson was named the starter over rookie Vladimir Ducasse. Ducasse was a disaster, but the team released Faneca after drafting Ducasse. D'oh!
C Nick Mangold made the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro once again.
RG Brandon Moore
RT Damien Woody got hurt in the first playoff game.
DE Shaun Ellis
NT Kris Jenkins got hurt in the first game of the season, so once again Sione Pouha picked up the slack.
DE Trevor Pryce
OLB Calvin Pace
MLB David Harris
MLB Bart Scott
OLB Jason Taylor came over from the Dolphins and had a good season. Bryan Thomas was relegated to a situational role.
CB Darrelle Revis held out before the season, and was hampered by a lingering hamstring injury throughout the season. He still made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team.
FS Brodney Pool
SS Jim Leonhard missed the end of the season which a broken leg, which was a blow to this defense because he was the defensive playcaller.
CB Antonio Cromartie formed a great tandem with Revis, and he was a good playmaker. Kyle Wilson was a good corner in certain packages and took over for Revis when he was hurt.
K Nick Folk was very inaccurate.
P Steve Weatherford tied the record for most punts inside the 20 yard line. Of course he was rewarded by being allowed to leave in free agency.
PR Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery took care of this with occasional appearances by Antonio Cromartie.
KR Brad Smith
Total Offense: 11
Total Defense: 3
2011 New York Jets
Result: 8-8, 2nd in AFC East, Missed the playoffs
Disappointing season, and the team was not as good as 2010. Turmoil in the locker room seemed to be the issue that caused the season to deteriorate.
QB Mark Sanchez seemed to take a step back, but statistically, he was better.
RB Shonn Greene finally took hold of the starters role, and both he and Tomlinson were pretty bad. The running game fell all the way back to 22nd in the league.
FB John Conner
WR Santonio Holmes was part of the locker room problem.
WR Plaxico Burress returned from prison and was a major factor in the red zone. Derrick Mason had to be traded because he was starting to cause some dissent in the locker room. Jeremy Kerley was the slot receiver after Mason's departure.
TE Dustin Keller had his best season.
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson made yet another Pro Bowl.
LG Matt Slauson
C Nick Mangold made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams again.
RG Brandon Moore finally made his first Pro Bowl.
RT Wayne Hunter actually was not as terrible last year. He was bad, and drew the ire of all Jets fans, but he made good blocks on occasion. Nothing as bad as he was this preseason.
DE Marcus Dixon
NT Sione Pouha with Kenrick Ellis getting some time behind him.
DE Muhammad Wilkerson was mediocre in his rookie season.
OLB Calvin Pace
MLB David Harris had his best season, doing just about everything.
MLB Bart Scott
OLB Aaron Maybin was very good at rushing the passer. Jamaal Westerman was alright.
CB Darrelle Revis returned to his amazing form, and made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team again.
FS Brodney Pool
SS Jim Leonhard missed the end of the season which another injury and was replaced by Eric Smith.
CB Antonio Cromartie with Kyle Wilson behind him and the return of Donald Strickland.
K Nick Folk was once again inconsistent.
P T.J. Conley was terrible.
PR Jeremy Kerley was pretty good at punt returns.
KR Joe McKnight was great on kick returns.
Total Offense: 25
Total Defense: 5
2012 New York Jets
I already broke down this future failure in 32 in 32.
Let's rank these teams from top to bottom:
- 2010 Jets
- 2009 Jets
- 2011 Jets
- 2012 Jets