Editor's Note: NFL Network's Michael Lombardi has been all over the dysfunction in the Jets' organization for the past month. In the wake of Brian Schottenheimer's exit, the hiring of Tony Sparano, the New York Daily News story on Mark Sanchez and the possibility of Todd Haley's hiring, let's revisit a few of the highlights from Lombardi's recent columns:
I love Rex Ryan's confidence and his willingness to put himself out in front of his team. It takes the burden of responsibility off his players. But I think his act is wearing thin and can be counterproductive. It is one thing to say you are great, but another thing entirely to actually be great.
Darlington: Ryan, Sparano will work
The pairing of the brash Rex Ryan and the understated Tony Sparano may seem odd, but Jeff Darlington argues it's actually a perfect match. **More ...**
Ryan's predictions are just an act. His press conferences are more show than substance. I get the feeling that he thinks if he does not say something outrageous, the media won't attend. He is too smart and too much of a football man to watch his squad play the past 14 weeks and really believe he has a Super Bowl-winning team. He knows the game too well to watch his safeties fail to cover anyone, or his offense not be able to execute at a high level because it's led by a quarterback who is skittish at best, and not know better. I am giving Ryan the benefit of the doubt because he has to see the flaws. Or at least I hope he does. ...
Ryan can continue down this path of false bravado, but at what point does he become the little boy who cried wolf? At what point does he get realistic and attack the personnel issues with the Jets? It might take missing the playoffs for Ryan to get real with his evaluation of the team. And if that's the case, it would be the best thing that could happen to the Jets this season.
The number one thing an organization must do is to find out not what the quarterback can do well, but rather what he can't do. The Jets identified early on that they wanted to manage Sanchez, as they did not want his arm to carry the team. The key to the offense would be its physical nature. When Sanchez was a rookie in 2009, the Jets were a top rushing team, averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry. The Jets rushed for more than 130 yards in 12 games, with two games of more than 300 yards rushing. They had at least 150 yards rushing in each of their final five games, the last of which was a loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game. The Jets had found a formula for winning with Sanchez, and it was dubbed "Ground and Pound." ...
Schottenheimer will take the fall for the offense's problems; even though Ryan has publicly supported him, he won't be back with the Jets. But this is not all Schottenheimer's fault. Until the Jets realize what kind of team they need to be around Sanchez, then the next coordinator will have the same problems. The fault is not always in the scheme, as the talent -- or lack of talent in this case -- has played a huge part. The hardest thing to do in the NFL is to evaluate your own team. This is what Ryan must do really well this offseason. In spite of what he says to all of us, he at least better be honest with himself.