The Jets beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday 24-13 to run their record to 7-8 with one game remaining in the season. It was a gutty effort as they came from behind to score 24 straight points after trailing 10-0. How did it unfold? Here is the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) Rex Ryan – According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports in the Saturday team meeting Rex asked the players to fight for him because according to Ryan the “word on the street” was he was going to be fired at the end of the year and he wants to keep his job. The players played for him and showed that they are not tuning Rex out and he still motivates and gets the best out of his players. Geno Smith and Dee Milliner continue to develop along with Damon Harrison, Quinton Coples & Muhammad Wilkerson. Chris Ivory is also a big part of the young core here. The post game press conference was epic with a fired up Ryan sparring with the media at every junction throwing Geno Smith’s and especially Dee Milliner’s performance in their faces. The only time Rex Ryan was given good skill position players was 2010 when Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jericho Cotchery were at wide receiver and Ladainian Tomlinson teamed with Shonn Greene at running back with Dustin Keller at tight end. That year they finished 11-5 and went to the AFC Championship Game. Rex Ryan deserves to coach the fruit of the $40 million in cap room and 12 draft picks that the organization has accumulated for this offseason.
2) Geno Smith continues his development – The has been the 3rd straight week of improved play from Geno Smith and the past two weeks have been leading to a game like this. Smith has improved his decision-making dramatically and although his accuracy is still spotty it is clear the game has slowed down for him. He has learned when to run and when to throw as well as when to audible out of a bad play. Today he played mistake free football throwing for 214 yards on 20/36 passing and added on 49 yards rushing including a 17 yard touchdown scramble to seal the game. He was given help from the offensive line who did not allow a sack and generally gave Smith a clean pocket. Most impressively was the fact that Smith converted 12/18 on 3rd down including more than a few of 10 yards or more to extend drives. A lot of that was due to the play of Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson. Kerley had five catches for 70 yards a few on 3rd down and Nelson had four catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Winslow and Cumberland both contributed as well. It is becoming clear that the Jets don’t need to spend big on Jay Cutler or use their 1st round draft choice on a quarterback. Smith can be the man. They should bring in a quality veteran that is a legitimate threat to Smith and could step in if Smith struggles during the season.