Just as Tom Scocca wondered whether Rexism might be Buddyball without the self-destruction, Rex Ryan just couldn’t help himself, and gambled on troubled Cleveland receiver Braylon Edwards.
The Jets were 3-0 before Sunday, when they got trounced by the New Orleans Saints. “[T]he plays the Jets used to attack downfield look liked New Orleans’ dump-off plays,” as Scocca put it. So, three days after his first loss, Ryan went out and got himself a guy who can stretch an opposing defense and a coach’s patience.
Edwards has talent. He was the third pick in the 2005 Draft (slightly less impressive than it sounds), and he caught 80 passes for 16 touchdowns in 2007. He’s developed a reputation for dropping passes, but he’s big and fast, and he should bolster a thin receiving corp.
But he also has a knack for getting himself in trouble. Last year, he was cited for driving 120 miles per hour, and he was partying with Donte Stallworth on the night Stallworth drunkenly drove into a pedestrian, killing the man. On Sunday, Edwards allegedly punched a night club promoter (and a friend of LeBron James), which could make him a repeat offender in the eyes of the league, and therefore subject to some kind of suspension.
It’s hard to square this move with Ryan’s earlier benching of rookie receiver David Clowney for a selfish tweet, and it’s hard to imagine a malcontent like Edwards fitting in well with Ryan’s constant preaching about the team.
But Edwards’ off-field trouble and his sour relationship with coach Eric Mangini meant the Jets could get Edwards’ talent at a deep discount. Even at a discount, it cost them a receiver with better numbers so far this year, an acclaimed special teams player, and two future draft picks.
So even with a rookie quarterback, Ryan seems to be betting on the now–and perhaps inching himself a little a closer to one of those heated moments his father never could resist.