By MARK CANNIZZARO
Last Updated: 9:26 AM, January 14, 2012
Posted: 12:47 AM, January 14, 2012
The “to-do’’ list Rex Ryan faces after his Jets melted down on the field, then further embarrassed themselves by purporting themselves in an even more unseemly way off of it, is a long one.
There are a lot of things that went bad on Ryan’s watch in 2011 that need fixing in 2012 — beginning with his own credibility.
Listening to Ryan on a conference call yesterday reinforced bold-talk bravado suits him a lot better than run-for-cover spin doctoring.
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Listening to Ryan, without a trace of his usual bull-in-a-China-shop personality evident, gingerly sticking and moving his way through some pressing questions, was like seeing him driving around town in a Smart Car.
It didn’t fit.
Spin doctoring is for losers. If Ryan is going to be “true to himself’’ — as he often likes to say — he needs to be more truthful with those who listen to him.
Ryan has developed a recent habit of painting himself into some places from which he cannot gracefully extricate himself.
He repeated in recent weeks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would stay as long as he was not hired away as a head coach.
Schottenheimer, the scapegoat, is gone and not only is he not a head coach anywhere, he isn’t even employed.
If you have listened to Ryan during the last three years, you have heard him thump his chest about how he “has the best coaching staff in football’’ that he “wouldn’t trade for anyone.’’
Look that up.
Ryan has blown up much of the very staff he said he would not trade for anyone, with the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and receivers coach now gone.
So those words Ryan handed out with such certainty now ring hollow.
So did Ryan’s lame attempt yesterday to tell us how “easy’’ it’s going to be to “fix’’ his fractured locker room, which is rife with resentment and back-biting.
“That’s biggest thing we can fix, but also the easiest thing to fix,’’ Ryan said. “We’ve got to bring our team back together. That’s a thing that we can fix quickly.’’
Because Ryan was speaking on a conference call, it was impossible to tell whether he was saying that with a straight face and whether his fingers were crossed.
Contrary to what Ryan tried to sell yesterday, the locker room turmoil, which as much as anything was the downfall of the 2011 Jets, is going to be the most difficult thing to fix and it is going to take a long time.
For starters, Ryan won’t have his players with him until mid-March, when voluntary offseason conditioning takes place. Training camp will not begin until late July. The next time Mark Sanchez walks into the locker room, he is going to look around and wonder who the anonymous players are who have been bad-mouthing him behind his back.
How is that going to be easy for Ryan to repair? It’s not.
“I don’t know how many there are that don’t have confidence in Mark, but I’ll tell you this: If it’s not all of them the majority of our team has great confidence in Mark,’’ Ryan insisted.
Sanchez already knows what Santonio Holmes, the selfish home-wrecker receiver, feels about him. Holmes, by his actions, has shown no respect for Sanchez or anyone else. Yet he likely will stay because it is financially prohibitive for the Jets to ditch him.
Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum say the Holmes issue is something they have to “work on,’’ but no one says specifically how they can fix the problems.
Ryan, too, offered no insight into how exactly newly-hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is going to make the Jets a better offense than Schottenheimer did.
Sparano only has been a part-time play-caller on offense before, and that was a few years ago in Dallas. As we all know, much of the Jets weakness on offense was Schottenheimer’s inconsistent in-game play-calling.
So, instead of telling us truths, Ryan gas-bagged about how “it’s an exciting time’’ for him right now.
That, like most everything else he said yesterday, was also a tough sell.
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