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Silverman: Ryan Must Concentrate On Basics If He Wants To Keep Job

By Steve Silverman
» More Columns

Rex Ryan says that he is not worried about his lame-duck status as he prepares to work for new general manager John Idzik.

That's good, but Ryan has a lot of things he has to worry about.

Mainly the Jets' W-L record.

The Jets have fallen badly the last two years and Ryan has had a lot of excuses. He has used some himself and he has let others make them for him.

Start with the quarterback situation -- as in the Jets haven't had decent quarterback play in a league that requires a scintillating signal caller.

The Jets are light years behind.

They have also had problems with their offensive coordinators. Whether it was Brian Schottenheimer or Tony "Coach Meatball" Sparano, the Jets haven't had the creativity or foresight that the position demands.

Those are excuses.

They do not take away Ryan's responsibility from the downward spiral that the Jets have been on the last two seasons.

He must figure out a way to turn this around.

He has to change the way he does business.

For all his bluster about doing things his way, Ryan has been full of indecision. It doesn't show when he lets his ego do the talking at press conferences after games, but it shows because the Jets don't have an identity on offense.

Ryan needs to make changes in the way he evaluates his players and the way he attacks the game.

Here's a simple solution: Put the best players on the field.

It doesn't matter who is making the most amount of money. It doesn't matter what your scouts have told you in their reports about college and professional players. It doesn't matter what your general manager whispers in your ear.

You have to evaluate who is performing the best in practice. Whether it's in the offseason or in training camp, you have to let your eyes tell you the story.

If a big-name player is not impressive and the effort is substandard, a good coach is not going to wait for him to turn it up a notch. He will go to the next man in line.

That's what the Jets have not done in the past. That's what they must be prepared to do in the future.

They seemed to take the first step to make that happen when they signed David Garrard, and they will give him a chance to compete at the quarterback spot.

Garrard had limited talent when the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted him in 2002 in the fourth round. A lot of scouts wouldn't have drafted him even then.

Garrard is not an impressive physical specimen. He is merely average in talent, but he is a try-hard guy.

Even though he has not played since the 2010 season, he's better than Mark Sanchez or short-timer Tim Tebow.

It is Ryan's responsibility to put the best players on the field. He can take advice from his assistants, but in the final analysis the most important thing that Ryan will do is determine who is out on the field.

It doesn't matter if a rookie free agent is starting at offensive tackle if he is the best player at the position. It doesn't matter if the first-round draft choice is sitting on the bench.

Ryan does not have to make Idzik happy. He has to win, and if he doesn't he won't be on the job next year.

Strategy, game plan and subterfuge are all important when it comes to coaching in the NFL.

But they pale in comparison to putting the best players on the field. It sounds simple, but it is anything but.

That's what Ryan must do if he wants to remain the coach of the Jets.

What must the Jets do next season for Ryan to keep his job, or is he essentially a dead man walking? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below...

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