New York Jets’ Fans: A Guide to Playing Out the String
By Alan Schechter
Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets fans pose by a bonfire during tailgate festivities before the game against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
All right Jets’ fans. We may not have been expecting a playoff appearance this year, but one was still possible until Justin Tucker connected from 61 yards out on Monday Night Football. He hit the field goal, the Ravens won, and we are out.
So, another season, now three straight, that the Jets are home in January, and not with home field advantage. But, we still have two games to get through. How do we do it, without anything to play for? Here is a bit of a guide as to what to watch, to keep things interesting:
DO THEY STILL LOVE REX? We have talked about this a lot, but this will be the major story line to finish out the 2013 season. Will Rex be back in 2014? A lot will be determined in this regard over the last two games. Whether they win or lose, watch carefully and see how hard they play. Have they quit on Rex Ryan, or are they still playing hard for him? This will give us a good idea of whether the message has been lost on the players, and ultimately whether or not he should be back.
PROGRESSION IN THE SECONDARY This one will be especially interesting this week. We all know how bad the secondary has been in 2013. For the first time in the Rex Ryan era, the back-end of the defense has been a liability. Well, they are going to face as hard a test as they will ever face on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Josh Gordon is leading the league in receiving yards, and has been as dominant of late as anybody we have seen in recent memory. He has also been a recipient of many a big play, which has been the Achilles heal of the defense all year. Do we see progress against the big play?
THE DEFENSIVE LINE To me, it will be interesting to watch these guys. You might say “Why?”, since they have been great all season long. Well, I am curious to see how they perform when the playoffs are no longer in the picture. The mark of players that are going to be great is the ability to keep up the intensity, even when the games no longer mean anything. That is the difference between a good group and a great group. Watch their intensity, and their performance, and let’s see how they do over the last two weeks.
DRAFT A QB OR WEAPONS FOR THE QB Let’s face it, this is the other big topic, next to Rex Ryan. Have we seen enough to commit to Geno Smith? Or, does John Idzik need to choose another quarterback in this, a quarterback rich draft? It will come down to the decision-making. Do we see progress in the next two weeks? It has to be good enough to give the brass a comfortability factor that they can live with. If so, they can concentrate on aligning him with weapons. If not, it’s QB drafting we go. A lot will come down to the next two weeks.
Just some things to watch as we play out the string.