If you watched the New York Jets this Sunday, either on TV or at MetLife Stadium, the fact that this team needs help on almost every level is obvious. The offense had trouble moving the football, and the defense had trouble stopping it. Even special teams took a blow, as current PR/KR specialist Josh Cribbs went down with a shoulder injury which sidelined him for the rest of the contest. His injury came at a horrible time for the offense, because on a subsequent possession (after the defense stopped the Dolphins at the one-yard line), the Jets couldn’t use their wildcat package at a point where they would normally feature it. The Jets would go three-and-out… doing very little else against the Miami Dolphins throughout the game, as they fell to their division rivals 23-3.
Geno Smith had little time to throw in the pocket, and when he did, he missed wide-open receivers. Geno went 4 of 10 for 29 yards and an INT. Geno attempted to force a ball to Greg Salas with under a minute left in the first half, a pass which was intercepted and eventually led to Caleb Sturgis’s second-made field goal of the quarter. It would be his last pass of the day. “We couldn’t find any rhythm, any momentum,” said HC Rex Ryan about his team’s offensive performance. He continued, “We’re that inconsistent team, sometimes we can beat anybody, and sometimes we can’t beat anybody” Santonio Holmes was a game time decision he hoped would help his team beat the Dolphins. Holmes gave it a go, but was shut down immediately by the coaching staff. When asked why he was allowed to dress, taking up a roster spot, Rex replied “80% of Holmes is better than 100% of some other guys.” After a few plays however, it was obvious to the coaches that Holmes had very little drive pushing off that leg, so they elected to keep him off the field.
Geno was pulled for current fan-favorite and backup QB Matt Simms, who tried to “provide a spark for the offense” as he put it, going 9 of 18 for 79 yards and an INT. Obviously excited by the opportunity to have some meaningful snaps, Simms sounds like he’s hungry for more. He says “no one plays this game to be the backup,” and he’s right! Instead of a week where popular media speculates as to whom the starter should be against the Oakland Raiders, the team announced that Geno Smith will make the start this upcoming Sunday in East Rutherford. In response to the news, Simms said “that’s the direction the coaches wanted to go in, and I support it fully.” Geno Smith responded as you would expect a starter to respond, saying “every day I come into this building, I expect to play.” Rex still has confidence in Geno, remarking “this young man has the tools, (and) it hasn’t been an ideal situation for him.”
Another decision Rex will be criticized for, settling for three points when the team finally mounted enough offense to make it to the two-yard line. The crowd booed the FG unit as it trotted onto the field. “I thought we had been moving the ball,” said Rex, “so we get some points, and have our defense force a three and out.” That didn’t happen, as the Dolphins returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and scored a TD on that possession. I think Rex saw an opportunity to get points, any kind of points, and took it as opposed to ending the game with a goose egg on his side of the scoreboard. As a defensive coach, he knows what it means to shutout a team, and may not have wanted to give the Dolphins that feather in their cap.
A positive for the defense, a hobbled Antonio Cromartie making an interception off an errant Ryan Tannehill pass in the direction of Mike Wallace. Dee Milliner had two opportunities for INTs as well, but dropped both. He made one good tackle, helping Quinton Coples stop Lamar Miller short of a TD on fourth down, but flat-out missed on Mike Wallace near the sideline… allowing him to rumble 28 yards for a backbreaking score. Rex still has faith in the struggling first-round draft pick, saying Milliner “has the ability, but right now we don’t think he’s playing as physical as we’d like him to be… that’s one of his strengths.” Another player that has yet to lose Rex’s confidence, is last year’s second-round pick Stephen Hill. Rex says Hill “(has) been fighting some injury things as well, (he hasn’t been able to perform to his best) due to his health and that’s frustrating for him.”
It’s hard to see this team turning things around, but the first opportunity will come next Sunday as they host the Oakland Raiders. The Jets need a win badly… so does their coach who is still on the hot seat, and their struggling starting QB!
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com