Well, they played for Rex. The Jets 24-13 win over lifeless Cleveland perhaps gives Ryan a last ditch chance to claim why he is the HC to move forward with. Ryan can argue to his bosses that the personnel on offense has not been up to snuff all season. That Geno Smith was of course going to experience growing pains. That heading into the final game with a chance to finish at 8-8 is an achievement. Word prior to the game was that Rex told the team that he was going to get fired. If that was a motivation ploy to rile up his guys and it leads Rex to saving his job, then he deserves it. That type of fighter mentality we could live to see again with some real offensive pieces next time around.
Dee Milliner Stands Tall
First he prevented the quick slant for TD. Then he forced a high throw out of bounds in the end zone. Finally he was physical enough to disrupt a fourth and goal in the back of the end zone. All against the incredibly dangerous WR Josh Gordon. This goal line stand led by rookie Dee Milliner helped preserve a one score lead at the time.
Milliner grew with confidence after being targeted three times only to thwart each attacks that came his way. Against one of the NFL’s best no less. Milliner had his first interception too, and held Gordon to 97 yards receiving. A major accomplishment when you consider the insane numbers Gordon has put up in games this year. Milliner didn’t back down all day. Consider it a start.
To Build Or Not to Build Around Geno
Geno Smith played pretty well yesterday. He was poised, drove the team downfield for scores, used his legs when the need arose, and more over looked the part of a starter yesterday. Of course the W came against 4-10 Cleveland but hey, the kid was given an entire year to grow and show his skills, right?
So does yesterday’s performance help Smith build the case that he should be the guy that John Idzik builds around through free agency and the 2014 draft? The “no weapons” theory that both Smith and Ryan will use in pleading their side of the story seven days from now when the offseason officially begins just dangles out there doesn’t it? How much weight Idzik gives to who has surrounded Smith all year is the million dollar question. It’s not easy to evaluate Smith without taking his supporting cast or lack thereof into account.
The Fire Reemerges
We appreciated the Jets fire yesterday. The defense didn’t like the penalty call on Sheldon Richardson on the goal-line that gave the Browns a first and goal, and got an unsportsmanlike penalty as a result. Later, Ryan went ballistic when Smith got hit out of bounds (which actually looked like a good acting job the kid) and so did many of the players next to Ryan on the sidelines. It felt like the benches were gonna clear and a good old 1970’s hockey brawl was about to ensue. That’s the passion needed to win in this league. Especially without a top tier QB.
It’s too bad that it took a coach on the hot seat to remind these Jets of how they emotionally took the field prior to the bye week. When they were fighting for respect after being tagged as the worst. Thirty second out of thirty two by ESPN in a preseason poll of the NFL’s 2013 pecking order. Fires are harder to start when a team can’t score. Hope just slowly dwindles. Speeches and rallying cries only go so far. Sunday the a Jets were able to move the ball, own the lead, and control the tempo in the second half.
A Chance For Rex To Return The Favor
On the last day of the 2011 season, the fading Jets needed to beat Miami on Jason Taylor’s last NFL game, and get help. They got no help that day, and lost 19-17 anyway. Yet it was a scene that took place in a fourth quarter huddle as the season that symbolized a 8-8 year full of underachievement and void of team cohesion. The Santonio Holmes incident. I’ll stop right there, you all know the rest. Let’s fast forward to the here and now.Next week in Miami, the situation will be in reverse. The Dolphins will be the ones who blew it in Buffalo Sunday and now need to beat the Jets and get help of their own. Rex Ryan can return the favor to a Miami franchise that he has had his share of battles with over the years.
There was a tough 31-27 loss early in the first year of the Ryan era against a Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown Wildcat he couldn’t stop. There was the finger he gave Fish fans in South Florida after that 2009 season at some mixed martial arts event. He’s battled Channing a Crowder, had to defend then Dolphin RB Reggie Bush’s claims that the Jets purposely tried to injure him. Let’s not forget Sal Alosi and “Trip Gate” in a pitiful December home loss in 2010 to struggling Miami that followed the unforgettable 45-3 thumping in Foxboro. Thus ending hopes of keeping pace with the hated Pats.
If Rex truly is still coaching for his job, what better way for him to add some emotional significance to the resume than going 8-8 with a developing roster. While burying a pesky rival in he process for good.
– The fake punt. The double reverse. It seems like perennially the Jets are so bad at gadget plays? Do the tricks ever work?
– David a Nelson had a solid game. Kellen Winslow played with fire. Santonio? He’s not raising his game down the stretch. That will leave a bad taste in John Idzik’s mouth if in the event Holmes was hoping to make a case for returning.
– In 1988 the eliminated 7-8 Jets closed out the season by eliminating the Giants 27-21 on a Ken O Brien to Al Toon 5 yard TD pass.
– In 1991 the Jets and Dolphins met in a winner take all finale for the final wildcard spot. Raul Allegre tied the game at 20 nailing a 44 yarder with seconds left then won it in OT with a 30 yard FG. Another Jets-Miami season finale? The 2008 debacle that saw Dolphin QB Chad Pennington steal the AFC against the Jets and Brett Favre. Whose arrival ended the Chad era in cold and cruel fashion. Favre and coach Eric Mangini were shown the door as a result, ushering in the start of the Ryan roller coaster ride.