There are plenty of blue-chippers remaining, and they are playing well. Catch the recent emergence of Chandler Jones (4.5 sacks).
Most importantly, this group is young and improving. They feel good about themselves and are playing like it.
Panic without the missing studs and their seven Pro Bowl appearances? Don’t even think about it.
REX IN EFFECT
An interesting topic flashed across the local Twitter-sphere on Friday morning as several of us opined on Rex Ryan and his coaching ability.
Eagle-Tribune sports editor Bill Burt has Rex as a “joke” and “finished” in New York.
Football writer David Willis equated Rex with a “dead man walking.”
I’m here to tell you that Rex Ryan is easily in the top third of NFL coaches in the game. Last season I wrote, “Why has coaching sunk so low in the NFL?” At the time, I ranked Rex the NFL’s 17th best coach.
Since, I have moved Rex into my top 10, and not necessarily because he’s moved up, it’s just the coaching talent in front of him has spiraled downward.
Lets take a look at the accompanying graphic of my top 15 coaches, ranked in 2012 and 2013, and how things have changed.
Guys like Houston’s Gary Kubiak and Atlanta’s Mike Smith have been exposed as big-game phonies over the last half of last year and the first part of this year. The Greg Schiano myth has died quickly in Tampa, too.
Meanwhile, Ryan and Tennessee’s Mike Munchak continue to milk wins with limited talent.
Detractors point to Ryan’s 37-33 record as a head coach. Please remember, it was Mike Tannenbaum all those years picking his groceries.
He’s got the Jets, with a dozen first-year players and up to 14 different starters from last year, in the playoff hunt at 3-3. A home win today and they are in business. Rex deserves praise. Look past all his gibberish, and it’s pretty easy to see.