As hopefully welcome relief from my anti-Republican rants, this one is about pro football, more specifically Rex Ryan, coach of the New York Jets.
Last week, Ryan, whose mouth is arguably the biggest thing in the Jets’ locker room, said that his quarterback calling a time-out at one point during the Jets loss to the Patriots was “the stupidest call in the history of football.” If so, then last night, Ryan calling (or allowing his defensive coordinator to call) a full blitz on the play that resulted in the Jets’ loss to the Broncos, was football history’s second stupidest call.
With just over a minute left in the game and the Jets leading by a field goal, the Broncos had moved the ball 75 yards to the Jets 20-yard line mostly on the running of Tim Tebow, and faced third down and four yards to go for a first down. Ryan, reputed to be a defensive genius, either called or agreed with, a defensive play that had eight of the eleven Jets committed to charging directly at Tebow, which under the circumstances, ranks among the dumbest of dumb coaching decisions.
The only plays against which the Jets’ blitz could have been effective, maybe even as a long shot in causing a turnover, would have been a pass or a handoff. But as everyone in the stadium knew, Tebow would not do either, since you don’t let a poor passer pass when he doesn’t have to, nor do you have your best runner hand off to someone else. As everyone knew, Tebow would run, since at worst, if he’s stopped or even loses a few yards, they could still kick the field goal to tie the game. At best, if your opposing coach operates on theory that aggressiveness is a substitute for intelligence, they might blitz, leaving no one to stop your runner if he gets past the line of scrimmage. Twenty yards later, Tebow was in the end zone with the winning score, barely touched by a Jet defender.
The Jets, being the more talented of the two teams should have been willing to play overtime rather than open themselves up to the obvious play that could and did beat them. A non-blitzing run defense would more likely have stopped Tebow, forcing the field goal or at least keeping him from scoring a touchdown. Seeing the Jets total commitment to the blitz, Tebow simply ran outside it, effectively leaving no one between him and the end zone.
The only thing worse than Ryan’s coaching mindlessness was his mealy-mouthed commentary after the game. Having called out his quarterback for a bad decision the week before, he wasn’t man enough to take even the slightest responsibility for his own blunder. He blamed the loss on his players’ mistakes. Meanwhile, as Ryan dissembled, his quarterback stood up and admitted to having played poorly, allowing the Broncos to stay close enough to win.
(As a matter of full disclosure, I am not a disgruntled Jet fan. I just really dislike big-mouthed and gutless incompetence.)
Ryan says he’s not in the game “to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings.” He should reconsider. At least his mouth would be shut while he does.