A team’s success can only be judged by the expectations of its head coach. For the last two seasons, Rex Ryan has guaranteed that the Jets would be hoisting up the Lombari Trophy in February. For two straight years, Rex’s trophy case has been empty. For two straight years, Jet fans have been left at the AFC Championship alter. For two straight years, the Jets have failed.  

Entering his third year as the pilot of the Jets, Rex must focus on winning games on a week-to-week basis instead of putting unrealistic future pressure on his team. Rex, it’s time to win it all or face the mounting scrutiny from the national media.

Fresh Ink For Rexy

 We all saw Hard Knocks last year. We all saw the brash demeanor of the Jets, which is fine. We heard all of the guarantees. We heard how players would take less money to come suit up for him. Well guess what? Nnamdi Asomugha left the Jets at the alter to go join the Philadelphia Eagles. During the Nnamdi bidding process, the Jets watched Brad Smith leave for Buffalo. Make no mistake, this loss will hurt the Jets for the foreseeable future. Smith was a stalwart on special teams and versatile offensive option that opposing teams had to game plan for. Braylon Edwards came up short in the big spots, but his 957 yards and 7 TDs are vacated. Rex and Co. are banking on Plaxico Burress to fill that void. Can Plax do it? No one really knows. He’s a complete roll of the dice after missing the last two seasons.

The Jets did re-sign Santonio and Cromartie (and his entourage), two key cogs from last season, but this team failed to get better in the off-season. They still lack an elite rusher and will need to employ blitz packages to put pressure on the quarterback.

For the Jets, their success this season will solely rely on two players: Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene.

Entering his third season as the starting quarterback, Sanchez must take the next step in his development. His TD-to-INT ratio was better last season (17 to 13), but his completion percentage (54.8) wasn’t much better from his rookie campaign. The Jets are a true blue ‘ground and pound’ team that leans heavily on its defensive play, but Sanchez must keep opposing defenses honest. He showed signs of growth and maturity in the playoffs, committing only two turnovers, but looked lost in the first half of the biggest game of his career in Pittsburgh. In my eyes, he’s the biggest key to a Jet Super Bowl run.

As for Mr. Greene, many were expecting him to emerge as a 300 carry, 10+ TD back last season. Thomas Jones left town and LaDainian Tomlinson was brought in to play third downs. Surprisingly, Tomlinson posted more carries, yards, and scores than Greene did. Tomlinson really wore down in the second half and the Jets cannot expect him to take 250+ total carries again. The Jets have one of the best running blocking offensive lines in the game, so there’s no excuse for Greene this year. If he doesn’t rush for 1,000 yards this season, he may never do it. He has to wear down the clock and be the big, bruising back that the Jets expect him to be.

As for Ryan, he needs to focus on present goals. Focus on winning the division first so we can stop hearing about the Jets ‘impossible’ road to the Super Bowl. A home playoff game would be a nice change for Gang Green. Don’t look now, but the Patriots have improved. Say what you want about Ocho Cinco and Haynesworth, but Belichick has an eerie way of motivating disgruntled talent. Look at Randy Moss’ first season in New England. Corey Dillon. Winning changes everything and putting these two players in winning situations may resurrect their careers. 

Rex, it’s time to win now or shut up (for good).