The New York Jets have been a team with serious personnel issues for several years. Under Rex Ryan the team has, historically, played at a high level on the defensive side. Offense is, however, another story. A pedestrian offense has, once again, sent the team spiraling to mediocrity.
At the crux of the problem is the quarterback play. With the exception of Ryan’s first two seasons, the quarterback play has been abysmal. Mark Sanchez has been vanquished to Philadelphia, and the quarterback reigns have been entrusted to Geno Smith. The signing of Michael Vick as a backup was to provide depth and experience.
But Ryan appears to be succumbing to his own stubbornness. Two seasons ago the New York Jets signed Tim Tebow to back up Sanchez. Tebow, it was announced, would be the backup, but if Sanchez faltered Tebow would take over. Not only did Sanchez falter but Tebow never received an opportunity to show is talents. The signing of Vick to backup Smith appears to be déjà vu all over again. Geno Smith, with a paltry 69.7 quarterback rating, is failing to produce any spark for the 1-5 New York Jets, yet Vick, the talented veteran, continues to sit on the bench.
But it is not all Ryan’s doing. It has been no secret that the Jets offense has been terrible for the last few seasons. Missing are athletically gifted players at the skill positions, running back and wide receiver. This issue has been plaguing the team for several years now. It does not help that the team continues to focus on the defense during the annual NFL draft.
An argument can be made that Ryan is the coach and not the general manager. While he has input on personnel moves John Idzik has the final say. Mike Tannenbaum, Idzik’s predecessor, was let go after his chosen quarterback, Mark Sanchez, continued to regress and finally became totally ineffective. Idzik drafted Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft, and that selection appears to be as unsuccessful as the choice of Sanchez.
Ryan, meanwhile, has had to field a team with inferior quarterbacks. In a league where success is measured at the quarterback position, he has been repeatedly dealt a loosing hand. As a defensive guru, Ryan has produced very good defensive schemes that have been highly successful.
But it has been the lack of any type of offensive success that has the New York Jets languishing in the lower echelon of the league. Primary in their stagnant offense is the lack of an explosive playmaker. This season’s addition of Chris Johnson was filled with the hope that the former 2,000-yard rusher could supply some explosiveness. It was an experiment fraught with failure. Johnson’s best years are far behind him, as he has rushed for only 200 yards this season.
The way the New York Jets are performing this season, it is highly unlikely that Ryan will return next year. While Idzik’s return may also be in question, he has been on the job for only two years and should have an opportunity to hire his own coach. It would also be wise that the Jets draft a top college quarterback as Geno Smith may have run his course. Should the team continue to play uninspired football, the Jets will, in all likelihood, have a top-three draft position.
As the New York Jets continue to sink towards the abyss, changes need to be quickly made to stop the free fall. A turn to Michael Vick may be cosmetic at best since he would still be lacking those explosive skill players the successful teams have. It appears highly unlikely that the Jets can turn their season around. As a result, Rex Ryan will, in all likelihood, be looking for a new job next season.
Commentary By Hans Benes