A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Deconstructing the NY Jets”. If you missed it – - and if you care enough- – , you can find it here. One of the things that I said then was that Rex Ryan may or may not have a firm grip on what was going on in the Jets’ locker room; but in any event, that he needed to find ways to bring some of the nonsense under control. Then, last week, Darrelle Revis had these things to say to the NY Post:
“There was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes, that I think if we had addressed it [at] the time being, then everything would have been cool, we could have moved on. But obviously we didn’t and the season kind of spiraled late.”
“After the season we talked, and basically he didn’t know a lot of things that were going on behind the scenes. There was just so much stuff, and I’m not going to get into it because some of the stuff is really deep.”
“When we come in there for OTAs, [we need to] have a player meeting. The leaders need to step up, talk to everybody in the building, and just say, ‘Hey, man, look. This is our goal this year, this is what we need to accomplish, let’s not get into the bickering or the frustration because it brings a team down.’ “
Looking at those three quotations from one of the key veterans of the team – - I believe Revis has been there four years now – - one has to conclude that coaching oversight of the Jets’ team was not very strong. Notice he says the players need to have a meeting with team leaders speaking up and not that the team leaders need to engage the coaches in getting to the bottom of “some of the stuff [that] is really deep.”
Rex Ryan needs to take those remarks and post them over his desk at home and in his office so that he sees them every day as a reminder that bombast and press conferences that get his team on the back page of the NY tabloids are insufficient as leadership tools.
The Tampa Bay Bucs hired Greg Schiano from Rutgers to take over the ship in Tampa. Schiano did a fine job at Rutgers; he turned a football program that was one step above a laughing-stock into a program that would get itself invited to one of the myriad minor bowl games every year. Rutgers is not a football factory by any means so the fact that he achieved that level of success there says he must know something about coaching football.
There were more than a few rumors going around in the past several years that Schiano hoped to be at or near the head of the line to replace Joe Paterno once JoePa retired from Penn State. However, the circumstances surrounding the recent Penn State search for a new coach virtually assured that no one who had ties to the “old Penn State program” was going to get the job. Particularly, no one who had coached on the defense with or under Jerry Sandusky was going to get the job. And Schiano had been one of the defensive assistants there from 1991 to 1995. Even though there has been not a word regarding any wrongdoing on his part, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time to get that job. Interestingly, once that became very clear, he found a way to “move up” from the Rutgers job…
There are two other factors that could well have factored into Schiano’s thinking here:
The Big East Conference – - with regard to football – - is hardly a model of stability and could find itself significantly less relevant in future seasons.
Reports in the Newark Star-Ledger say that Rutgers’ football program ran a deficit of $25M or more and that university applied monies from student fees and the “general fund” to balance the books. If those reports are even close to correct, consider that Rutgers is a state school and the state of New Jersey is in a “belt-tightening environment” at the moment.
Here is a comment from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot regarding Schiano’s change of employer:
“Wakeup call: Rutgers football players, recruits and their parents, angry that Greg Schiano has forsaken them to coach the NFL Bucs, are expressing dismay that big-time college football is nothing more than a business. Really, they’re just learning that now?”
With Schiano in place in Tampa, all of the head coaching jobs in the NFL are filled at the moment. Nevertheless, one level down on the coaching level, two interesting hires showed up this week:
Brad Childress will be Offensive Coordinator for the Browns. The bar for “improvement” here is set very low. Last year, the Browns scored only 218 points in 16 games – - less than 14 points per game. Childress has been a successful offensive coordinator before.
Jack Del Rio will be Defensive Coordinator for the Broncos. The Jags were not very good last year but it was not their defense that put them in that condition. Del Rio has been a successful defensive coordinator before. Oh, and pairing him with John Fox as the head coach should point to the Broncos’ defense being pretty good for the next several seasons.
Finally, regarding the swirling stories about Peyton Manning retiring or perhaps being released and signing with some other team, here are two comments to consider:
“Manning and Irsay want to “dispel any misperception” they might be at odds. So they met Friday and held a dispelling bee. #Colts #NFL” [Dan Daly, Washington Times]
“Futurewatch: If (or when) Peyton Manning is shipped out of Indy, the Baltimorean in me hopes it’s late on a snowy night in the back of a Mayflower moving van.” [Bob Molinaro, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………