Occasionally, Jets fan David Aitken will contribute to the site or write an article for TheJetsBlog. In his latest piece below, Aitken explores the conflicted notions of what the Jets ought to do with head coach Rex Ryan.
If the game in San Diego was the nail in the coffin for any thought this Jets team could turn their season around, this Sunday’s debacle versus Buffalo felt like the final straw for Rex Ryan’s chances of walking into next September still coaching the New York Jets. Fooling fans into thinking the Jets could beat a decent Buffalo team after dominating New England on the road in a close loss, the Jets, instead, reverted to the all-too-familiar pastime of playing down to an opponent after (nearly) rising to a big occasion. Ryan, who has seen his job come under close scrutiny on more than one occasion over the past six seasons, seems to have finally found a hole out of which he can’t dig himself.
For Jets fans, this is a naturally controversial topic. Rex has been the coach for three (and soon to be four) consecutive seasons without postseason play and he wasn’t the first choice of current general manager John Idzik. He’s also the man that nearly brought the Jets to the Super Bowl in his first two seasons and did so without consistent quarterback play, marveling Jets fans and confusing the opposition with exotic defensive schemes that elevated the Jets to the next level and made Darrelle Revis nearly invincible. Perhaps most of all, his unique personality and approach to coaching made being a Jets fan something to take pride in. The excitement in being involved with the team and the confidence he exuberated publicly was palpable, and the results on the field at first matched it. I think I can speak for all Jets fans when I say those moments were some of the most exciting times we have ever experienced.
It seems unfair to fire Rex at this point, given that he was kept on board with John Idzik’s hiring in 2013. Since Idzik’s hiring came with Ryan’s say in personnel decisions marginalized and with a “patient” approach to rebuilding a franchise, it seems illogical to judge Ryan without holding Idzik equally if not more accountable. As much time Idzik is allotted for his project, surely Ryan should receive the same. However, there comes a time when you have to look at where Rex is at — six years into his head coaching tenure — and wonder if he is ever going to change: the lack of discipline, the inconsistent motivation and preparation, the lack of player accountability, the over-focus on defense and the same sputtering offense. It may not be fair, but we’re at a situation where Woody Johnson can say to Rex Ryan “we just want to go in a different direction” and actually mean it.
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Jets GM John Idzik holds a news conference to discuss the team’s 1-7 start and how he takes full responsibility for the Jets’ struggles.
New York Jets General Manager John Idzik
Good afternoon and thank you for coming. I’m here to recap at the midpoint of our season what has transpired so far and our outlook going forward. Needless to say, we’re extremely disappointed in our 1-7 start. I search for words to describe how we feel, what we’re going through, knowing what we put into it and the results that we’ve achieved. It’s a struggle. I don’t know words to describe it. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s brutal. You feel like you’ve been punched in the face. It’s painful. It’s painful. It’s particularly painful for our fans because we’re in a business where our actions affect so many. Our actions affect, in our case, Jets nation. And I’ve said it before, we have generational fans. You go to the games, you go through the player walk, you see jerseys like (Joe) Namath, (Wayne) Chrebet, (Chad) Pennington, (Joe) Klecko, (Marty) Lyons, (Sheldon) Richardson (and Muhammad) Wilkerson. They span decades. We go out to camp and we invite people in here and we meet fans and I’m meeting fans from a little one wearing a green jersey, five, six years old, through their granddad or grandmom that’s 70 years their senior and everything in between. It goes back to my years here with the Jets alongside my father with the Jets. Somebody not too long ago in the media just as an aside said, “You know what, don’t take things personally.” This is very personal. This is very personal for me. The Jets are my team. The Jets are our team. By our team, I say it’s Jets Nation, and us in this building, and me, it’s very personal with us. Everything we do is very personal. So when you start out 1-7, you start out in front of our home crowd 1-4 at MetLife (and) you start out losing seven consecutive games. That’s very personal. It is. When someone you care deeply about hurts, it hurts you two-fold. I’m sure you’ve experienced that in some way. We experience that right now. It hurts us to be 1-7. But more importantly, it hurts our fan base, the people that mean so much to us. And we vow to give them what they deserve. They don’t deserve this. They don’t deserve 1-7. We vow to deliver to them.
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Once again, I can’t wait to turn the page on this game. From an emotional standpoint, I think I’d already turned the page on this season, but that won’t stop me from reviewing the games every week to try and assess the direction this team is headed in.
The news that Michael Vick will be starting on Sunday should make for some interesting developments over the next month or so, even if it’s only a short term move. This could have a major impact upon the direction the franchise, not just the team, is headed in.
Then again, maybe it will be more of the same. We’ll start to see as the team heads for a tough test on Sunday in Kansas City.
There are links to each BGA article or the option to read the offensive and/or defensive BGA in full after the jump.
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Michael Vick will start on Sunday for the Jets, Rex Ryan announced.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Vick said. “You have to relish it, but at the same time take it extremely serious.”
Vick came in late in the first quarter against the Bills after Geno Smith threw three interceptions in the first 10 minutes. Vick went 18 for 36 for 153 yards and one interception. He also rushed eight times for 69 yards.
“This is not looking long-term, this is about the immediate,” Ryan said, and claimed Vick gave the team a spark on the field.
Vick isn’t looking ahead, either.
“I can’t look down the road. I just have to enjoy every minute of this,” he said.
Rex said Geno does have a shoulder injury, though it is not considered serious.
“I’m not looking past this week,” the head coach said.
This will be Vick’s first start since October 2013 with Philadelphia.
If Geno can’t play on Sunday, the Jets will activate Matt Simms from the practice squad.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
Give the Jets credit for going with Vick here, but I wonder if the results with Vick will result in a return to Smith in the lineup sooner or later. Vick had three turnovers against the Bills and might have had more if not for a few good bounces.
More than likely, this was a move based out of a fear of losing whatever good will the locker room had left with the coaches and front office. After a dreadful game in which Geno had more interceptions than completions, throwing out the shell-shocked sophomore in a very hostile Arrowhead Stadium might have meant further disaster.
It’s been a bad year for Geno and the biggest mark against him has been his unwillingness to cut down the turnovers. Yes, at times he’s played better than he did a year ago, but the issues that doomed Mark Sanchez in New York have persisted … bad footwork, hesitating on throws and locking onto targets have brought him to this point.
Former Jet safety James Ihedigbo made note of Geno’s flaws and defensive coordinators and d-backs are feasting on his inability to find his second read or make progress quickly enough.
When you add in the missed meeting in San Diego and the cursing out of a fan at home … this is going south very quickly for GM John Idzik and his hand-picked quarterback.
Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog.com reacts to John Idzik’s news conference and comments made by the Jets after their Week 8 loss to the Bills.