Tag: rex ryan

Rex Ryan Redux

jets-helmetWay, way back at the end of September — and the beginning of the NFL season — I posted some articles regarding rookie Jets coach Rex Ryan.

In the first post, I mentioned that “The Mets Can Learn From the Jets“, with the gist of it being that Rex Ryan came into New York and announced that he “expected” to win IMMEDIATELY.

The subject of the second post was related to the Mets being “soft”, and compared that to Rex Ryan’s edict that the Jets would be “tough”. To reiterate the point of that post:

I’ve brought up Ryan again because he is living proof that the right leadership can completely change the culture and attitude of a professional team — and parlay that into success on the field.

If you remember, the underlying motivation behind these Rex Ryan posts was to compare him to Wally Backman, who eventually found his way back into the Mets’ system. That said, I remain 100% behind the Wally hiring, and believe that if the Mets want to return to the postseason, they will need to make more moves aimed at changing the overall attitude of the organization.

Since the Jets have miraculously found their way to an AFC Championship game, I feel it is relevant to remind everyone of these posts from September — mainly as proof that a sheer change in attitude can vastly impact results.

Here are the two Ryan videos, for those who missed them the first time around:


Mets Soft? Look Again to the Jets

At Newsday today, David Lennon reported that more heads will be rolling in the Mets organization, and noted that

“Mets decision-makers have been meeting regularly for the past six weeks in an effort to sort out what went wrong this season.”

To which Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog responded,

“here, let me take a crack at it: everyone on your team got hurt, your GM struggles with foresight, you have one reliable starting pitcher, and your players are soft”

Well, injuries are difficult to control, and Omar Minaya is coming back next year. We can only hope that the Wilpons have enough money to buy a decent starting pitcher from the free agent market (John Lackey?). As for the softness, that can be addressed with a mixture of new blood and the right leadership — similar to what the New York Jets did when they reassembled their roster and hired Rex Ryan. During Jets training camp, Ryan talked tough about how the Jets would be playing, though it may have fallen on deaf ears at the time:

I’ve brought up Ryan again because he is living proof that the right leadership can completely change the culture and attitude of a professional team — and parlay that into success on the field.

This year, at least part of the Mets’ problems could be blamed on the injuries to their stars, but that’s not the entire story. One need only look at the failures of 2006, 2007, and 2008 to know that in addition to talent, the Mets can also benefit by a change in their demeanor and the way they approach the game. Some players may be inherently “soft” but that doesn’t mean a “hardness” can’t be coaxed out of them with the right leadership.

Which leads us into part three of “Bring Wally Back, Man!” — Watch and listen to Wally talk about how his team will play aggressive “old school” baseball (courtesy of Playing For Peanuts):

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I don’t know that Wally Backman can singlehandedly change the face of the franchise. But adding Wally and other hard-nosed coaches / former players like him (Ray Knight? John Stearns?) to the minor league system, where they can teach youngsters the right way to play the game, would be a good start in changing the culture and reputation of the organization. There is the “Dodgers’ Way”, the “Braves’ Way”, and used to be the “Orioles’ Way” … why not start building the “Mets’ Way” ?


Mets Can Learn from the Jets

During the NFL offseason, the Jets made the somewhat surprising move of hiring Rex Ryan as their head coach. The hiring was met with mixed opinions from the pundits, and there were much eye rolling going on when Ryan addressed the media on several occasions with big talk about the Jets — and that he EXPECTED to win immediately:

Similarly, Wally Backman said in this interview that he believes a team’s goal should ALWAYS be to win, and has a major issue with managers who talk about “reaching .500”. He says the only number that should matter “is winning the fourth game of the World Series” :

I may be in the minority here, but I fully believe that there are some leaders — in every sport — who can have a significant, positive impact on a team’s success as a direct result of their attitude and the development of a “winning culture”. Bill Parcells is one of those guys, so is Bill Belichick, and so was Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi. In baseball, you can point to Bobby Cox, Tom Lasorda, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa. Yes, those managers often had talent, and they didn’t win a championship every single year, but they also fostered a winning culture and taught winning habits that can’t be measured on a stat sheet (though it can be seen through championship trophies and career won-lost records). There aren’t many “impact” leaders in MLB these days — but Wally might be one of those rare figures.

It can’t hurt to send him to Binghamton to find out, can it?