Rex Ryan breaks the Jets’ defense. He is not wrong.

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Rex Ryan has often held his fire when it comes to criticizing the Jets, in part because of his closeness to the team, where he maintains a friendship with owner Woody Johnson and led two AFC Championship Games in the first round. as the NFL head coach.

But this time, he couldn’t help himself.

After another stinking performance by Robert Saleh in Sunday’s 45-17 home defeat to the Bono, Ryan relinquished his former team, especially the pathetic state of the defense he once presided over.

“This is a terrible defense,” Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, said on ESPN Radio’s “DiPietro & Rothenberg Show” Monday morning. “This guy [Saleh] He was supposed to be a defense guru. I’ve heard everything and I take it personally. Everything I heard was about, ‘Well, this guy looks a lot like me, but there’s nothing wrong with him’. Yeah? Well, you need some bad parts, because this team isn’t playing with a goddamn heart. That’s what’s disappointing for me.”

After watching the Jets’ defense last month, it’s hard to argue the point. Saleh’s band was not only bad, it was bad historically. The Jets have lost a total of 175 points during that time, the second most by any team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and the first since the 1966 Giants to allow 45 or more points in three of four games.

Saleh can point to injuries as a factor in the dismal play – the Jets lost preseason setter Carl Lawson to an Achilles injury, and Marcus Maye and Lamarcus Joyner are both absent for the year. The Jets are also teaming up with young corner players, including Brandin Echols, who suffered a quadruple injury on Sunday. But every team has injury issues, so this miserable streak of performance isn’t just the result of manpower shortages.

This is a schema-based issue. Also emotional.

“Every man should be ashamed,” said veteran defender Sheldon Rankins after Sunday’s defeat. “Every man should be angry.”

It was a pathetic performance, even with the four tackles of journeyman quarterback Mike White and the incompetence of wide receiver Corey Davis late in the first half. A week ago, the Jaguars kept the Bills on just two pitches in a 9-6 defeat at Jacksonville. There are no excuses for jets.

“Frankly, it’s not good enough,” Saleh said. “It always starts with me.”

Saleh said one of the hallmarks of his defense in San Francisco, where he helped the 49ers qualify for a Super Bowl race after the 2019 season, was their improvement throughout the season. In his first year as coach of the Jets, the opposite happens. This defense has gone badly.

“Never compare this man to me, this Robert Saleh to me,” Ryan said.

Ryan does not accept the injury issue.

Now they’re going to use it, he said, ‘Well, our safety has never been. “So what? Everyone has a million injuries, let alone an above-average safety. I remember playing without five corners. It never looked this bad.”

Ryan’s defense has been mostly excellent, especially during his time with the Jets in 2009 and 2010, when he led the team to back-to-back AFC Championship Games with his “Ground and Pound” approach to managing football and defending well. . Prior to coming to the Jets, Ryan was a terrific defensive coordinator for the Ravens.

“A little bit for me [upset] when i hear this guy’s background is very similar [mine]Ryan said of Saleh, “No, it’s not. No, it isn’t.”

When asked about Ryan’s criticism while appearing on ESPN Radio’s “The Michael Kay Show,” Saleh said she didn’t know Ryan, had never met him, adding: “Obviously, if it’s that special to him, he knows where to find me.”

Was she surprised by Ryan’s words? “No, I’m not surprised by him. He always has something to say.”

While the quarterback question has dominated the conversation about the Jets in recent weeks, the Zach Wilson-Mike White debate shouldn’t mask an equally glaring problem for Saleh. Needing to find answers for the other side of the ball as well as offensively, White was probably out of business as long as Wilson was ready to come back from his knee injury.

Regardless of injuries and opponents, you can’t play this sad defense every week. At least you have to be competitive, and that hasn’t happened over the past month, starting with Bill Belichick’s 54-point shot at Foxborough to the Jets.

If Saleh is to win this town, he’ll have to come up with a much better product than we’ve ever seen. Young team or not, the Jets shouldn’t be this bad.

Saleh has eight games left to fix that and give victory-hungry fans something to be proud of and not be ashamed of.