With external pressure at an all-time high and internal pressure simmering due to the arrival of new GM John Idzik, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is essentially coaching for his job this year. What will it take for him to survive the axe? Barring a Woody Johnson intervention on his behalf, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of seven or eight wins along with a clear indication that the rebuilding job is going as planned. With this as a backdrop, I will monitor the progress of my Jets on a weekly basis and try and gauge the prospects of Rex keeping his job.
Week 7 opponent: New England Patriots
Takeaways: Facing a 21-10 deficit at halftime versus the Patriots this past Sunday left me with a bit of an uneasy feeling. The Jets were definitely in a hole, and to some degree the season was hanging in the balance. Dropping a seventh straight regular-season game to the Pats seemed highly probable (especially with Rob Gronkowski back in the fold) and it wasn’t too hard to envision this 3-3 team quickly falling to 3-6 in a couple of weeks.
But that uneasiness was replaced by renewed hope on the second play of the third quarter when Antonio Allen stepped in front of a pass from Tom Brady directed towards Gronk and returned it to the house. Just like that the Jets had new life, and when this one was over they had outlasted their hated rivals for the 30-27 overtime win.
Much has been and will continue to be made of the controversial call that allowed Nick Folk another chance to win it in OT, but there is no getting around the fact that the Jets were the better team for most of the game. They dominated in total yards and doubled up the Pats in time possession (46 to 23), utilizing the run to punish New England’s weakened interior defense. Probably most shocking of all was that the Jets defense only allowed the great Tom Brady to convert on one of his twelve third down attempts. They did a number on Brady this season, holding him to a less than 50% completion rate in each of their meetings.
Though he didn’t receive much support from Jeff Cumberland or Stephen Hill, Geno Smith continued to make plays with his live arm and even threw in a couple of nice runs to keep a critical NY drive alive in the third quarter. He took some shots in this one and was sacked four times; a somewhat surprising number based on the amount of times Marty called running plays (52). Looking ahead with Cincy’s physical front next the schedule, the Jets would be best served getting their protections shored up as much as possible before kick-off.
It wasn’t pretty, but after seven weeks there is still optimism surrounding this team and Rex is proving that he can lead an up-and-coming team. If he is around to watch this team (especially the defense) continue to grow they could have something special in a few years.
Rex Watch: Likely remaining wins needed to keep job – 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Who’s next: 10/27 at Cincinnati