The thoughts, musings, rants and observations of Barry Rubinstein, a longtime sports journalism pro now starring as a digital and print editor on the sports desk at the New York Post.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rex Ryan has us all fooled ... right?


Rex Ryan is either the smartest, most cunning, most innovative coach in the history of the NFL, or ... he's not.

What to think? Which way to go? There's no middle ground here. It's sort of like cats -- you either love 'em (which I do) or you don't. You're either in or your out, to paraphrase Pat Riley, who actually was pretty smart, cunning and innovative. You either have confidence the plan will work when it counts, or you don't.

The Jets have been pretty terrible throughout the first three games of the preseason: This is not news. The defense doesn't look bad, but the offense is a mess. The line has holes, especially at tackle (Winston Hill is not walking through that door), their receivers are banged-up and old, their top running back is pretty pedestrian and though they profess confidence and trust in their starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, he's going to have to play with whiplash every week, what with that Tim Tebow guy breathing down his neck.

And through it all, Ryan has remained the steady, stoic captain of this ship that everyone else can see is taking on a lot of water. And instead of grabbing the buckets and bailing, he's calmly forging ahead, telling us not to worry. Trust me, he assures us. I got this.

"I see some encouraging signs that we're headed in the right direction," Ryan told my New York Post colleague, Brian Costello. "It might not be obvious to everybody in the public. Again, I'm confident in our offense. I'm confident in our coaching staff. I'm confident in our players. I believe that we're going to have a very productive offense when it's all said and done."

Uh, OK. Maybe we're wrong. Maybe in all of their shrouded-in-secrecy practices Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano have cooked up the most amazing, intricate mind-blowing offensive attack, the likes of which we've never seen before. Maybe Tebow will line up as quarterback, running back, H-back and wideout ... on the same play (Hey, Bugs Bunny did it on the baseball field, so there is precedent). Maybe Antonio Cromartie will catch passes ... from Nick Mangold.

Or maybe not. Maybe behind closed doors and security-encased fields far away from the prying eyes of the media and Bill Belichick's camcorder, they're as frustrated and frantic as their fan base is. Maybe they're just trying to buy as much time as possible to figure something -- anything -- out before the regular season starts, when all the world will finally see whether the Jets are fantastic ... or frauds.

Ryan and the Jets either have all of this under control ... or they don't.

Which is it? We'll soon find out.


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