Since week 14 of the 2011 regular season, the New York Jets record under Rex Ryan is 11-20. They have lost 14 of their 31 games by 13 points or more. They’ve sprinkled in a few nice wins but generally they average out to not being a competitive team every other week, in a league filled with parity. Today, for the third straight game after their bye week, the Jets were completely blown off the field, as the Miami Dolphins rolled over them 23-3. Ryan isn’t solely at fault for the team’s problems but we have probably reached the point where it is time to move on.
After this season, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are all going to be released to free up approximately 25 million dollars of cap space. The three players are remnants of the Mike Tannenbaum/Rex era that nearly reached pay dirt twice but fell just short, only to see their window snapped shut in recent years. There are other remnants of this era currently hurting the Jets, like trading up for Stephen Hill, sticking with Jeff Cumberland and a perpetual ignorance of the safety and outside linebacker position but Rex is part of the problem, it is time for a new voice…and new direction leading this team.
He’s been given half a decade here and it is unfair he never had a quarterback who could protect the football to support him. Yet, Rex fosters an environment that isn’t conducive to the development of a quarterback or the creation of a consistently component offense. The defense has been good…even great at times, but not lately. The Jets are great at stuffing the run, in a league that is no longer emphasizing the running game. They are putrid in pass defense and at consistently getting after the quarterback, which is much more important in today’s NFL.
Today’s game saw the Jets pushed around the entire first half. They were fortunate not to fall behind because of a missed field goal, an underthrown 4th down pass and a flukey interception. There was a little under two minutes left in the half and the Jets had a third and long from their own 4 yard line. Miami was out of timeouts. Considering the offensive struggles and the type of game it was shaping up to be, the Jets should have ran the ball, bled another 50-60 seconds off the clock and likely headed into the half at 0-0-. Instead they threw an incompletion on either a miscommunication between Geno Smith and David Nelson or just another poor pass from Smith. The Dolphins used the extra time from the incompletion to drive down and kick a field goal.
The Jets then came out throwing again with 30 seconds left, when Smith was intercepted, directly leading to another 3 Miami points. Smith’s turnover was the appropriate nail in the coffin for his day under center. It was more than fair to turn the game over to Matt Simms at halftime, in attempt to jump start the offense. Unfortunately, it didn’t. As we’ve been saying here, the problems on the Jets offense go well beyond the quarterback position.
Simms went 3 and out. Fumbled a handoff. Got 3 points from a drive on Chris Ivory’s back and then did nothing the rest of the game, outside of racking up some yards when the score was 23-3 with under 5 minutes to go. He finished 9/18 for 79 yards with a fumble and interception, while being sacked three times…numbers that look very Geno Smith-esque from the past month.
This a broken offense, anchored by a crumbling offensive line and a wide receiver/tight end group devoid of playmaking ability. It needs to be completely rebuilt before any quarterback can be expected to have any type of success in it. The Jets can spend their first round pick on any big name college quarterback you can think of and he won’t do anything if he is on his back every other play and throwing to Jeff Cumberland and Stephen Hill.
Defensively, Rex embarrassed himself by letting Antonio Cromartie play today. Cromartie has been awful all season and today was further hindered by an injury, looking about 40% of his 2012 self. There is no logical reason that Darrin Walls shouldn’t play 100% of the snaps the rest of the season. The same goes for Antonio Allen at safety over Ed Reed. Allen was putting together a strong sophomore season and has now been relegated to the bench for a player who won’t be here next season. Dee Milliner’s hellacious rookie campaign continued. Considering he is a top ten pick, you need to keep throwing him out there and hope there is eventually some type of progress.
The Jets tackled poorly. They didn’t get enough sacks and pressure against a poor offensive line. They couldn’t get off the field on third down. They couldn’t cover the tight end. We’ve seen this movie before. 11-20 in the last 31 games, with 14 of the games being losses by 13 or more points.
It is time for a new approach.
I should also point out that I was lucky enough to experience this game from the Coach’s Club seats, courtesy of MetLife Central. It was the first Jets game I went to where tailgating was not necessary because the spread of food available to people who attend in that section is truly unbelievable. I was also able to sit directly behind the Jets bench, which provided the following observations
1. Despite some complaints about Santonio Holmes actions on the sideline, he spent the entire game in the quarterback huddle and talking up Geno Smith in the second half after he was benched.
2. Mark Sanchez and David Garrard were attached at the hip to both Smith and Matt Simms throughout the game, breaking down still images and offering words of encouragement.
3. Dee Milliner was very emotional after being pulled by Rex Ryan. The rookie seemed shocked by the move which is surprising considering his on field struggles.