A Humbled Rex Ryan Can Be a Better Rex Ryan

The first lesson is that emotional roller coasters don't work

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM EDT
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If you'd been out of the country for the last six weeks or so, it would only take one look at the back cover of Tuesday's New York Post to let you know how the Jets have fared during your travels. The picture of Rex Ryan with cartoon tears streaming down his face may have been doctored, but it seems the coach did break down while addressing his troops on Monday. Five depressing losses in six weeks is a lot for any man to take, but crying in football? 

It might not sit right, but Ryan could get up in front of the team and do naked jumping jacks for five hours and no one would care if it led to victories. What's clear at this point, though, is that it is going to take more than fiery speeches, emotional pleas or any other locker room activities to change the fortunes of the Jets. The good news is that Ryan seems to get that as well.

While speaking to reporters yesterday, Ryan said he was going to reach out to former bosses like Brian Billick and Marvin Lewis, his father Buddy and Bill Parcells, among others, in an effort to glean some advice about being a better head coach. The crying may show how hard this losing streak has been for Ryan, but the fact that he's willing to ask for help shows that he's been humbled as well.

That's a good thing, because, as someone smart may have once said, it's not about how you got knocked down but how you got back up. The one trait that Ryan has shown above all others since taking the Jets job is that he feels he has all the answers. That's not possible less than a full year into a new job, no matter how long he's been around football and how long he's been preparing to be the head man of a football team.

Too many small things are falling through the cracks, from blown assignments to poor clock and timeout management to undisciplined penalties, for Ryan to make a credible claim that he's got everything under control. He certainly doesn't seem like the type to find himself humbled all that often, which may explain his emotional reaction to it, but at least he's realizing that it's okay to admit that there may be a better way.  

The bragging and the crying is great fodder for fans and the media, but it's all secondary to winning and losing when it comes to evaluating Ryan and the job he's doing as coach of the Jets. They probably won't put it all together this season, but Ryan growing as a coach would be a positive outcome of what could be an otherwise disappointing season.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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