Case of the Mondays: Ending to Jets and Rex’s tale still to be written

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

Got a Case of the Mondays? Fear not! Columnist and TheJetsBlog Podcast co-host Corey Griffin has you covered every Monday morning with thoughts, ideas and opinions about all things Jets.

Corey Griffin, TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets’ victory over the hapless Raiders Sunday was more about postponing the ending than defining the tale.

Rex Ryan was neither fired nor extended due to the result and Geno Smith did not suddenly turn the corner because of a better-than-expected performance.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

The Jets took advantage of a team worse off than them, dealing with a historically troublesome trip East. In a must-win game, the offense and special teams put forth commendable efforts, while the defense continued to crack and fray, particularly in the secondary.

None of this was all that surprising, although it felt like we were watching a different offense entirely given the ineptitude of the past month.

The best lesson to take from Sunday was the return of Geno’s confidence, a trait that had ended up on milk cartons instead of on the field recently. While the previous Jets quarterback to be benched responded with one of his worst games ever, Smith took advantage of a porous Oakland defense and a mostly-healthy group of receivers to fashion his best game in two months.

Perhaps the most encouraging part of Smith’s game Sunday was not through the air, but on the ground. On multiple occasions, including one near the end zone, Smith sensed the pocket breaking down or saw an opportunity to run and took off. He was decisive with the ball in his hands, which usually means good things.

Take this stat into account: When Smith has four or more rushing attempts, as he did Sunday, the Jets are a combined 5-0.

While Smith isn’t quite Russell Wilson or RG3, the correlation between his running prowess and the Jets’ victories is telling. The question now revolves around Smith’s ability to carry that performance forward into, gasp, a two-game winning streak. The Jets road trip next weekend offers no favors – a talented and dangerous Panthers squad coming of a bad defeat and needing a win to maintain their spot in the NFC wild card race.

Smith’s chances are boosted by the Jets’ injury report, which no longer includes Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes. It’s no coincidence that the worst stretch of Geno’s season came with both players on the sideline. On Sunday, Holmes turned a first-quarter throw that was nearly a foot above his head into a 32-yard gain, while Kerley  caught his first touchdown in six weeks by out-jumping a defender for a ball thrown a second too late.

Jeremy Kerley

On the surface, they were huge plays in their own right, but take into account that they bookended a poor throw to Kellen Winslow for what should’ve been a wide-open touchdown and Smith’s 20th interception of the season and it’s easy to see how the game could’ve trailed off just as quickly as it picked up.

In the next three weeks, the Jets will be facing much tougher teams than the lost-in-the-woods bunch that lined up across for them Sunday. The Panthers, the better-than-their-record Browns and the rival Dolphins could very easily represent a second three-game losing streak – a skid that would likely send Ryan out the door on Black Monday.

While Sunday’s win was important and contained uplifting moments, the Jets will need to be much better if they plan to win two out of the next three and keep hope alive that Ryan will be back in 2014. That means no collisions between Ed Reed and Antonio Cromartie, some semblance of the pass rush that dominated games earlier this year and enough plays from the receivers early in games to allow Smith to settle down and not feel pressured to do it all by himself.

It might be too much to ask. Hell, entering Sunday asking for an offensive touchdown felt like too much.

The Jets won the game they were supposed to win. Now, they have to win  the ones their coach needs to save his job.


Corey works for NBCSports.com as an editor and can be reached at @cgriffin415 on Twitter.




24 comments
ww85
ww85

All we have to do is win 3 in a row & we are in the playoffs(Probably!). Piece o cake.

jaym
jaym

O/T  

Former TE Hayden Smith returns to rugby

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Former New York Jets tight end Hayden Smith apparently has given up on the NFL.

Smith, cut by the Jets at the end of the preseason, has returned to his former rugby team in England, Saracens. He played there before signing with the Jets in April 2012. It was a terrific story because he had no prior experience in organized football. He ended up playing in five games in 2012, catching one pass for 16 yards.

“It’s fantastic to be back," Smith told a London newspaper. "I learned a huge amount in the NFL, various elements that will help me become a better rugby player, but there is nothing like the Saracens environment and I am now completely focused on working hard and helping the squad achieve all our goals."

Smith made an impact in the Jets' locker room, helping to caffeinate his teammates. He kept a portable coffee maker in his locker, serving espresso and cappuccino. A good dude, Smith.

greggreen
greggreen

lets hope to go 8-8 and keep the coaching staff installed  

Randy Wilson
Randy Wilson

Kerley=Good Geno

No Kerley=Bad Geno


I've been saying all along the impact Kerley has on this offense is more than people give him credit for. Kerley keeps drives going, rather than always going 3 and out. Seemed like everytime the Raiders scored, we went back down there and scored again.

Mike Milea
Mike Milea

That touchdown to Kerley was almost indefinitely thrown to Holmes, and by no surprise it was under thrown and ended up being a perfect jump ball for Kerley.Shannon Sharpe said it best at half time, bunch two WR's together, send em to the end zone and throw it up and hope one of them comes down with it. It wasnt a good throw by any means, it was a Hail Mary in the first quarter of a game.

I guess the reason why I'm so upset is because Geno did do good, and I don't want the "maybe he'll progress" talks to start poping up. I want us to target a quality QB via draft, free agency, or trade because the truth is that we don't have a quality QB on our roster. I still would like to see Simms get a shot after a full week of practice with the 1st stringers instead of the back ups, but the chances are he's not going to get that opportunity. I don't know how confident anyone is going into a season with any QB we currently have on our roster (with the exception of Mark Sanchez, we'll never know where this season could've gone if he started and he shouldve because he rightfully earned the job), so we are going to HAVE to target a quality QB somewhere.

I doubt anyone is with me on this, but I wouldn't mind trading up to draft Manziel. I think a kid like him his is no stranger to spotlight would be a good fit in New York. I understand the rest of the holes we have on offense, but I think that we're best loading up on weapons every other way possible, but with our first round pick I think we should take a Quality QB and likely that QB in my eyes should be Manziel.

Brendan
Brendan

@jaym Best of luck to Hayden, always liked him. 

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@Mike Milea Not sure what you define as draft a "quality QB". Any QB taken in the draft is a crapshoot. Sure you can point to Luck, Wilson or Kap.; but look at all the QBs taken who haven't succeeded....or who haven't succeeded yet. Sometimes, you just need to have patience (not an easy thing to do if you are a Jet fan). I believe that given time Geno can succeed, but we need to upgrade talent at a number of positions. That is not to say that if we see someone in a later round who the scouts believe has potential, we shouldn't draft him....but we need to fill holes at other positions as well.

Questions for you: What if in the first round we can get a WR who the Jets feel is the next AJ Green or Larry Fitzgereld...you still want to pass that up to take Manziel ? ( so he can throw passes next year to Salas, Sudfeld, or Nelson).

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

I'm scratching my head...  With weapons on the field, Geno didn't look like a total waste of skin.  And imagine if we could upgrade Winters to something better than a human tackling sled.  I noticed on every blown up play, or quite near it, Winters was stumbling around the backfield.  And if we could find someone even better than Kerley, Geno might do all right.


I think we've got too many holes to draft a QB in the first round.  You put Manziel back there behind the current line, with the current receivers, and he's not going to light the world on fire either.

Brendan
Brendan

@Mike Milea So, Geno improves considerably, and you want Simms to start? 


Jets fans, ladies and gentlemen!

a57se
a57se

I wonder if we'll ever get what went down with him this season. It seemed like he was primed to get a role this season then BOOM!, he was gone.

a57se
a57se

You call that considerable improvement?

Mike Milea
Mike Milea

More like, I would like to see Simms get as fair of a chance to run this offense as Geno. Is there really any wrong in that comment Brendan?

a57se
a57se

Well if that was the case, then a lot of the praise we were hearing for him was just blather.......

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se I assumed "what went down" was him not being a very good football player. No shame in that, since he never played. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Mike Milea


Teddy Bridgewater is the unquestioned top QB in the draft, so if we're not talking about likelihood, I choose him. 


I'd take Hundley over Johnny Football, and I'd prefer to wait and take McCarron/Murray/Mettenberger later in the draft (assuming they go after JF) and try to develop them. 

Mike Milea
Mike Milea

@Brendan who would you prefer than? Of every and any QB thats out there and available right now, putting yourself in the GM's shore. Which QB would you go after?

a57se
a57se

I think the quality of the opponent had a lot to do with Geno's performance though he looked like the same old Geno the first few series out there.

I also think Marty did a good job of using plays that made it a lot easier on Geno...keeping his primaries in Geno's line of sight. I also think if Geno keeps running , we'll be seeing Mr. SImms before Rex wants us to.


If you weren't sure about my comments last night then you are really beginning to worry me!

a57se
a57se

Hahaha! Touche!

Brendan
Brendan

@Mike Milea @a57se


"why would Geno all of a sudden improve over these next three games when he has shown NO sign of improvement throughout the last 6 or 7 games."


First, it's false that he's shown "NO" improvement over the past 2 months. That's simply untrue. 


Second, to answer the "why" question: he's a rookie. Rookies improve and become starters, or they don't and get cut, that's how it works. But the reason for his improvement would be that he's a young player with flaws that the coaching staff has been working with him to correct and that corrective work has lagged because it's hard to apply things learned in practice to games when you're a rookie and learning 50 million other things at the same time. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Yes, I know you're on the "Geno sucks no matter what" train, but he played well yesterday. 


I'm guessing your comments were all sarcastic last night? 

Mike Milea
Mike Milea

@a57se Well I think what Brendans trying to say is allow Geno to show us OVER THESE NEXT 3 GAMES if Geno has improved or not... But i just dont know if I agree Brendan, why would Geno all of a sudden improve over these next three games when he has shown NO sign of improvement throughout the last 6 or 7 games. It seems more like a miracle than gradual improvement if he plays well in these next three. Its not like we have been watching Geno do a little better week by week, its just been bad, and for it to all of a sudden get decent just seems so... all of a sudden. 

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

He played twice as long as he usually does.  That's pretty good.

Brendan
Brendan

@Mike Milea Plenty, where would you like to start? 


Geno Smith should be given every chance over the next three games to prove whether he has truly improved this year or not. 


Simms is trying to improve to the point he is the team's unquestioned backup, that's the guy who you want to get an extended look at?