From now until John Harbaugh or Rex Ryan is fired, whenever the Ravens and Jets matchup the pregame conversation will always be about whether Baltimore should have hired Ryan. In the young history of this repetitive conversation, Ryan has taken the Jets to two AFC Championships while John Harbaugh has earned a a 4-3 postseason record after taking Baltimore to the playoffs in his first three years.
Last night, the Ravens and Jets met up once again and we listened to the ‘Should Baltimore have hired Ryan over Harbaugh’ talk while holding a national magnifying glass to the discussion on Sunday Night Football. In short, everyone has decided that Ryan was a part of an era that Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti wanted to leave behind, the Brian Billick era. Rex fit that era perfectly, he was a great part of Billick’s ‘us against the world,’ ‘they’re not giving us enough credit,’ ‘we’re the bad guys of the NFL’ mentality. And it worked for the Ravens in 2000. Ryan wasn’t the defensive coordinator, but he worked as the defensive line coach and continued with that persona until he left after Harbaugh’s first full season in 2008.
Ravens fans give differing opinions on whether they wanted Ryan to get the job in 2008. The team openly admits that they were hoping he would and Ryan himself has said that it hurt being turned down for the job. After their second AFC Championship berth, the Jets entered 2011 just behind the Eagles as the NFL’s dream team. In fact I’m certain that had Rex thought of the phrase before Vince Young that it would have been the Jets phrase over the Eagles.
Last night, Rex’s dream team took a 34-17 beating in front of a national audience. The Jets fell to 2-2 on the season and recorded their second straight loss after losing last week in Oakland to the Raiders. Their offensive line is in shambles, their quarterback folded under pressure and with the exception of Darrelle Revis their defense hasn’t proven to be all that this season.
Rex’s act gets a little old when the Jets are in the third place in their own division and can’t even beat the Raiders. Suddenly his trash talk is meaningless and his distractions just become annoying. You also question just how good of a coach Ryan is when the team struggles. This morning, Rex’s game management has come under question, coincidentally enough by former Ravens coach Brian Billick.
In Baltimore, the booth replayed a Mark Sanchez fumble that was returned for a touchdown. The call was upheld and the officials put the ball back in play, but before the Ravens could snap it for the extra point, Rex Ryan called a timeout. There was literally no other reason for his timeout other than to yell at the officials. While I appreciate his passion, I am not sure that was an efficient use of one of his three timeouts.
During a week of trash talk before the Ravens met up with the Jets, Ryan told the media that the Jets have been waiting to meet up with the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. The Jets have been there, but the Ravens haven’t Ryan added. The NFL season is only 1/4 of the way done, but Rex’s Jets have a long way to go if they want to lose in the AFC title game this year.
Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.