The New York Jets lost in emphatically ugly fashion today at home to the Buffalo Bills, 43-23 despite having ten days to prepare and being three point favorites. Rex Ryan is now 43-45 overall as the team’s head coach, 15-28 in his last 43 games, with 11 losses by 20 points or more and 14-18 overall against the AFC East. The quarterbacking was an atrocity today, as Geno Smith and Mike Vick combined for six turnovers while the Jets again forced zero themselves. This was a one possession game at halftime but quickly devolved into another blowout. Let’s get into it…
From his first pass of the day, you could tell Geno Smith wasn’t ready to play or simply didn’t have it, which is unacceptable for him at this point of his career. The Jets cannot plan to count on Smith long term when he is this inconsistent, regardless of what happens the rest of the season. Mike Vick provided a spark with his scrambling but on the whole did not play very well, completing 50% of his passes for 150 yards with three turnovers and zero touchdowns. He may start next week but obviously is not a long term answer here.This was a 24-17 game at halftime. Yet, once again the Jets were beat up in the third quarter, failing to make any adjustments outside of attempting a ludicrous trick kick return. If that doesn’t encapsulate their coaching in a nutshell this season then this does: with the score 14-7 and Buffalo pinned back inside their 10 yard line, Kyle Orton just missed Sammy Watkins on a deep post route. The Jets were in man coverage and blitzed. Two plays later, the Jets stayed in man coverage and blitzed, Orton went right back to Watkins in man coverage for a 86 yard gain.
People will point to Rex’s defensive rankings and put the blame elsewhere to absolve him because he gave the team a whiff of success 4 teams years ago but the time to move on from Rex has all but arrived. Nobody cares about defensive ranking when you are a head coach. You are responsible for the entire team, including the offense. Rex can stop the run but can’t field a defense that forces turnovers. Rex can’t run a team that has a competent offense in a league tilted towards that side of the ball. We have seen this movie with three offensive coordinators, two quarterbacks, two GMs and two defensive coordinators. There is one constant in the Jets mediocrity since upsetting New England in the 2010 playoffs: Rex Ryan.
Are the Jets short on talent in some areas? Yes. Does GM John Idzik get a share of the blame for the team’s 1-8 record? Absolutely. He is in year two. Rex is in year six. Idzik was required to keep Rex as his head coach, he has a longer rope. Save the “talent’ argument because the mighty Minnesota Vikings went into Buffalo last week, had their rookie quarterback turn the ball over multiple times and lost on the last play of the game. The Jets allowed 43 points and lost by 20. Vegas had the Jets as 3 point favorites and most people picked them to win today…but now Buffalo is substantially more talented than them, even without CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson? Even when they are on the road and the Jets had 10 days to prepare? Even with their patchwork offensive line? Even after they lost Kiki Alonso for the season this summer? Stop it. Rex coached his ass off against Denver and New England. He also no showed against San Diego and Buffalo. There is no consistency. There is just a .348 winning percentage since the team hit the final stretch of 2011.
Maybe the Jets will win a few more games this year. There will be games they show up and compete and there will be games they no show. Ultimately, it is time to try a new direction with the coaching staff. If every coach in the NFL was available tomorrow who would be hired before Rex Ryan? Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Andy Reid, John Fox, Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians, Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, Chip Kelly, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Mike McCoy, Lovie Smith and Ron Rivera to start and you could debate on a handful of others. Rex isn’t irreplaceable and just because he might get hired elsewhere doesn’t mean that letting him go is wrong. This is a league that traded a draft pick for Herman Edwards. This is a league that hired Dennis Allen and Romeo Crennel twice. Jets fans said the same thing when Edwards and Eric Mangini were let go, both got hired elsewhere and what happened?It is going to get ugly the next 8 weeks around this team. Rex and Jimmy Sexton will utilize Jay Glazer and other media outlets to go after the Jets front office, as is his right to do. Everybody’s status will be examined after the season and while Idzik is likely safe, if the Jets pursue a mega-big name (Harbaugh, Gruden) that could change.
Two weeks from now at MetLife, there will be a stadium filled with 90% Pittsburgh Steelers fans for a November home game which is a shame but something this team merits. They are short on talent. They are poorly coached. They are undisciplined and sloppy. They have lost 7 straight games and are on pace to force a total of SIX turnovers this season.