Rex Ryan wise to call Jets' defense

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
11:44
AM ET
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan knows his job is on the line after back-to-back non-winning seasons. All the equity from his brash talk and early playoff success in 2009 and 2010 is nearly out. It is win or go home for Ryan in 2013.

That is why it was a wise and predictable move for Ryan to announce he's taking over the defensive play-calling duties this season. Coaching defense is what Ryan does best. It's also what got him the head-coaching job in New York in the first place. The decision was made easier after losing defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets are a rebuilding team with a thin roster. Ryan enters the season on the hot seat, and perhaps the best way Ryan saves his job is by consistently calling a great defensive game. The Jets were eighth in total defense last season. New York also was second in pass defense, which is impressive considering the team was without star cornerback Darrelle Revis for most of last season. The Jets lost some talent on that side of the ball in free agency, but Ryan's strong scheme remains in place.

All signs are pointing to Ryan potentially being a lame-duck coach in 2013. It would be an upset if Ryan led the Jets to the playoffs this season, which might be required to keep his job. But Ryan is wise to take his best shot by taking control of the defense.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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