Lowell Cohn: Rex Ryan should be canned
Published: Monday, August 26, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 26, 2013 at 10:45 p.m.
I don't like Rex Ryan.
He's the loudmouth who coaches a football team over in Jersey. He coaches the Jets. Talks a good game. For years, he has won zilch. For what he did Saturday, he should get fired.
Quick summary: Jets playing the Giants. Big rivalry, hoo hah, except it was an exhibition game. Forget big rivalry. Jets were having a quarterback controversy. You know a thing or two about quarterback controversies.
It was veteran Mark Sanchez against rookie Geno Smith. Smith went first. He threw three picks. He also stepped out the rear of the end zone. Safety!
Not ready for prime time. Not ready for Broadway. Not even ready for Jersey, or as the cognoscenti say, “Joisey.”
Cue the loudmouth, self-promoting coach: With 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ryan decided to put Sanchez in the game. Smith already had proved he can't handle the NFL. Now, Sanchez was the Jets' only option for starting quarterback, and Ryan put Sanchez in behind the scrubs. I don't mean to offend the scrubs by calling them scrubs.
In Sanchez's second series, Marvin Austin wiped him out, drove him to the ground on his right shoulder, his throwing shoulder. Sanchez stayed down, gripped said shoulder in agony.
Goodbye Jets season before season even starts.
It is unprofessional — insane? — for a head coach to insert his starting quarterback into a game when the quarterback is surrounded by reserves, when the head coach fully knows the quarterback would not be given adequate protection. It's as if Ryan wanted to humiliate Sanchez, embarrass him publicly. And toward what end?
Here is a fair assumption. Sanchez's teammates lost respect for Ryan after that — if they respected Ryan to begin with. A coach does not treat players like that, except Ryan is, well, a Ryan along with his father Buddy and brother Rob. Family traits: crude, uncouth, insensitive.
After he almost got his starter murdered — Sanchez is listed day to day and the Jets may be stuck with Smith to open the season — well, after he almost got his starter murdered, Ryan held a postgame news conference. It must have been a beaut, Ryan explaining himself to the New York media.
The New York Daily News — I love the Daily News — reported: “When Ryan was repeatedly asked if Smith still had a chance in the quarterback competition, the coach refused to answer and became visibly agitated after he was pressed.”
Visibly agitated? The imagination runs wild.
At one point, Ryan turned his back on reporters. This is a head coach?
More from the Daily News:
Trying to explain why he threw Sanchez to the wolves, Ryan said, “That was my decision. That was Coach's decision all the way. If it wasn't important, then I wouldn't have put him in there. I would not have put Mark in there if it wasn't important.”
Memo to Mark: It was an exhibition game but it was important.
Asked when he would announce his starting quarterback, Ryan said, “We will make the announcement of the starting quarterback when we think it's the appropriate time. Not when you, not when this person, or this person, or this person (thinks it's time). I can say anything I want ... beauty of this country.”
Look, I don't want to blow this out of proportion. I don't want you to think for a minute Ryan rivals Al Davis when it comes to staging a fun-filled news conference.
Sure, Ryan turning his back on writers, and taunting “I can say anything I want” is the stuff of greatness. But it doesn't rise to the level of Al's letter to Lane Kiffin shown to a group of reporters via the most famous overhead projector in the history of projectors.
Nor does it equal the classic instance, a few moments later, when Al announced he'd hired Tom Cable, although he didn't seem to know Cable's name.
Nor does it equal by a long shot the time Al announced to the media he fired Cable for lewd behavior, or something like that, while the next sucker, Hue Jackson, sat in the room getting a glimpse of what awaited him.
I have said it before and I'll say it again. If they had offered me a Nobel Prize in Literature but said I couldn't cover Al's pressers, I flat out would have turned down the Nobel.
Rex Ryan does not rise to the level of Al. But he still has time.
And there's more — call it a new wrinkle. And this is world-class. On Monday morning, Chris Christie, you know Joisey's governor, went on radio and criticized a Daily News writer named Manish Mehta for the way he acted at Ryan's postgame presser.
“Idiot. The guy's a complete idiot,” the governor reasoned. “Self-consumed, underpaid reporter. The only reason he's
empowered is we're spending all this time this morning talking about Manish Mehta who, by the way, I couldn't pick out of a lineup. And no Jet fan really gives a damn about Manish Mehta.”
Let me get this straight. Among Mehta's sins is that he's underpaid? And Christie, I assume, wants my vote for president.
And Christie couldn't pick Mehta out of a lineup. The point?
And no Jets fan gives a damn about Mehta. From what I hear, lots of Jets fans give a damn about Mehta.
OK, I want to revise some statements. Up top, I said I don't like Rex Ryan. I could learn to love him — he has potential, or as football people say, he has upside.
And the governor, I'm crazy about him already. Bring the big guy out here. Fire up the overhead projector. Ready. Set. Go.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at email@example.com.