"Does Rex Ryan deserve to be fired?"

It's a question that's been circling in hushed tones since last season's shameful ending and began to pick up steam following losses to Miami and Seattle. After the "No Thanksgiving Massacre," the MSM has officially kicked the "Rex must go" rhetoric into high gear, including noted Jets fan Mike Greenberg and, in more decisive tones, ESPNNY columnist Ian O'Connor.

He wasn't born to be an NFL head coach any more than his father Buddy was born to be an NFL head coach, and nobody's taking any pleasure in making that claim. Ryan comes across as good people, and he makes most weekdays spent in his company a little less predictable and a lot more fun.

But he admitted losing control of his team and locker room in 2011, and he no longer needs to make that admission in 2012. His Jets said it all for him when they spotted the Patriots 35 second-quarter points, allowed them to score 21 of those points in 52 unforgettable seconds, and all but put Rich Kotite's worst hours to shame.

The allusions to Rex's father, the infamously foul-tempered Buddy Ryan, have followed Rex since he was a defensive coordinator in Baltimore. It's hard to escape the shadow of a man that once punched his own coordinator on the sidelines. But sitting in the stands Thursday, I didn't see a team that quit on its head coach. I saw a poorly-constructed, undisciplined football team make mistake after mistake after mistake. To say that doesn't fall on Rex and his coordinators would be foolhardy, but it's equally short-sighted to act like this is the same Eric Mangini's final year, when the team so blatantly quit on a coach whose best attribute was always getting his team to play for him.

Rex has been a media target since the day he walked in the door in Florham Park. With his brash introduction and continued braggadocio, he was unlike any coach in the NFL today, and, really, ever. His boastful personality met with a blood-thirsty media in the dawn of social media and it created a mix unlike anything we've seen before. His predictions went viral even when they weren't really guarantees -- and he absolutely had something to do with it. He and Woody Johnson wanted to reshape the face of the franchise and they did just that. If Tom Coughlin is a wet blanket, Rex is a bucket of ice water on someone sleeping off a three-day bender. Rex was loud and the media ran with everything he said. But most importantly for those first two years, the Jets won, which made what the media ran with mostly positive and fawning over this coach who wasn't afraid to say what he felt and guarantee a game or a Super Bowl he thought he could win. It wasn't a different sentiment than the way most NFL coaches do when they enter every NFL season. Rex was different because there was no filter.

This season, the filter was obvious and self-admitted. Rex acknowledged he'd lost the team last year and part of himself, too, in all of the success and loud talking. As the season has gone on, he's appeared more docile, hesitant, and sadly, predictable. He engages in coachspeak, which he always did before but it's more believable when you're 9-2 versus 4-7. Outside of Tim Tebow, the issue that riles the media and fans alike is Rex's insistence on sticking by Mark Sanchez by using one of the most cliched coachspeak answers in the history of organized sports, "He gives us the best chance to win."

Sadly, lost in the fan calls for Tebow or Greg McElroy, is the truth that however incapable he may be of being even an average NFL quarterback for two straight weeks, Sanchez does give the Jets the best chance to win. Maybe there would be an argument if Tebow were completely healthy or McElroy really was the developmental prospect a segment of Jets fandom wants him to be. The truth, though, is for either of those ideas to work, the Jets would need a far better starting unit on the other side of the ball to make up for Tebow's and McElroy's shortcomings.

That is to say nothing of Rex's handling of his infamous backup quarterback. The Tebow situation may very well go down as the thing that killed Rex Ryan in New York, and regardless of the PR sell he's been told to spew, Rex had no interest in bringing Tebow to New York. None. It's been a running thread all season. You don't dismiss something on game day that you spent all offseason hyping and pining over unless you were put in a precarious situation by a front office that kowtowed to its owner's desires for ticket sales and PR, something Rex used to be mainly responsible for selling. But it's hard to sell those things when you don't win and Woody doesn't take losing lightly. It's why Mike Tannenbaum will likely be reassigned on Black Monday and it's part of the reason Rex may be unemployed.

But in the end, it all comes down to the reason Rex was brought to New York -- to change the perceived face of the franchise. The problem is, perception is controlled by those that control information, and despite the advent of social media, access is key to gathering information. Joe Jets Fan doesn't have the shiny media card to enter Florham Park 97 percent of the year, so they have to rely on the quotes filtering out of camp and the unsourced reports that have become commonplace in the Rex Ryan Era. As much as fans want to believe they have more say in this Twitter age, The MSM (ESPN, NY papers, debate shows) still shapes the sports landscape. I think of an ESPN exec telling Deadspin they don't cover hockey because it doesn't rate in the national conversation. The exec left out that ESPN is the national conversation. It's the same in football. When all you hear is about how much Rex guarantees or how much the Jets talk, eventually the nature of the national conversation will change. People become sick of hearing about it in Nebraska and California and when you suddenly add the largest elephant in the NFL room (Tebow) to the discussion, it becomes overload. You get SportsCenter spending a week at Jets camp and the stage is set for Rex's greatest triumph or greatest failure.

If Rex goes down at the end of the season, it will be partly his fault. No coach in the NFL gets fired without having some blame and there's plenty to go around -- from sticking with an aging linebacker corps to being foolish enough to think ground and pound can work in today's NFL without an very strong offensive line and running back corps. But to ignore the media's impact on this team and particularly this coach would be naive. In New York, if the media can't smell blood in the water, they'll gut a fish to create some, and they've done that. They've partially neutered the man they once praised for giving them quotes to sell their papers. Now, he doesn't dare offer such phrases because he worries about them being held against him. Rex is no fool. He's been around the NFL for his entire life and he saw how the media's perception of his father helped lead to Buddy Ryan's ouster from the entire league. He knows the next guarantee or headline-grabbing personnel move (See: benching Mark Sanchez) would accelerate his dismissal. So he's content to remain quiet, hope Woody cleans out the front office and he gets to enter a do-or-die 2013 season with a QB competition, a better running back, depth on the offensive line, a healthy Darrelle Revis and a pass-rusher. But that only happens if Woody ignores the media's chants for the head coach's blood and gives this franchise something it has never had in nearly 50 years of existence: continuity.

Tags: News, NYJets, Opinion, Editorial Aside

GEICO SportsNite: Jets Camp 00:01:57
Jeane Coakley talks to several Jets' players as they reported to camp Friday who are determined to have a competitive season in 2017

 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

The Kets have signed TE Chris Gragg and waived WR KD Cannon, the team announced Friday.

The 27-year-old Gragg, who missed last season due to a torn ACL, had 24 catches for 251 yards and two touchdowns with the Bills from 2013-2015.

Cannon, 21, had been claimed off waivers by the Jets in May.

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets RB Matt Forte responded to former Jets WR Brandon Marshall's comments that he requested his release earlier this offseason because the team 'didn't have a chance' to compete this season.

"It doesn't matter," Forte said about Marshall's comments, according to the NY Daily News. "He's not here. He hasn't been here the whole offseason or whatever, so he doesn't know what chance we have or anyone has. So that's Brandon speaking on Brandon. That's about all I have to say on that."

Marshall, who signed a two-year deal with the Giants after being released by the Jets, was part of a toxic Jets clubhouse last season, and Forte said the clubhouse is improved heading into this season.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte
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Winters on offseason workout 00:00:42
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets guard Brian Winters about his unique offseason workout regimen.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets guard Brian Winters about his unique offseason workout regimen.

Tags: Brian Winters
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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

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GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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