New York Jets Week 16: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Dec 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan leaves the field after the game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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:

The Good

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.

Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) celebrates his touchdown run during the second half of their game against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

3) Running game and the offensive line – Not including an 11 yard loss on a reverse and the final kneel down the Jets rushed for 220 yards. Chris Ivory ran 20 times for 109 yards including a beautiful 29 yard cutback run in the 3rd quarter. He has become the feature back that John Idzik envisioned when he traded for him in the offseason. Bilal Powell had seven carries for 54 yards including a 39 yard run late in the 1st half that allowed the Jets to drive for the tying field goal in the closing seconds of the half. Geno Smith had nine carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. He has learned when to scramble and when to stick in the pocket. He also does a good job hiding the ball on the read option and makes good decisions. The offensive line was excellent allowing no sacks and owning the line of scrimmage to the tune of 220 yards rushing. Other than a Brian Winters holding penalty that nullified a 20 yard Chris Ivory run it was a completely clean game for the line. A marked improvement over weeks passed.

4) Dee Milliner continues his growth – Dee Milliner was matched up on Josh Gordon for every play of the game. Gordon was held to six catches for 97 yards. Gordon was thrown at 16 times and Milliner had 6 pass breakups and an interception during that time. Gordon’s streak of games with a touchdown was snapped and he did not dominate the game. I have a feeling that Milliner will matchup with Mike Wallace next week in Miami. It was a team effort by the secondary that held Campbell to 18/29 passing for 178 yards. No other receiver had more than 26 yards. Antonio Allen got the start for Ed Reed and played all of the base defense. When Reed was in he was effective helping Milliner on Gordon, getting a pass breakup in the end zone and ending the game with an interception.

5) Calvin Pace gets his 10th sack – Calvin Pace has been a marvelous pass rusher since swallowing his pride and coming back to the team on a veteran’s minimum contract after being released by the team. Instead of getting bitter he rededicated himself to his craft and has maximized the one on one coverage he now sees with teams focusing on Wilkerson, Coples and Richardson. It is a tremendous redemption story for a player that was much maligned last year for his slow speed and lack of productivity. Douzable had a full sack and Wilkerson and Coples shared a sack Sunday as well.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad

1) The front seven is tiring – Eric Baker ran for 64 yards and a touchdown and the Browns ran for 115 yards at a 5.5 yards per carry average. The Jets were losing the battle of the line of scrimmage and did not set the edge on a 22 yard reverse by Gordon. Jason Campbell scrambled for 21 yards on broken plays. While the team registered three sacks they were a step slow to Campbell hitting him 10 times and allowing him to move around in the pocket. After all the struggles of the offense led to the defense being on the field too much they have tired and are not as dominating as they were earlier in the season. David Harris was getting blocked out of plays all day and Harrison and Kenrick Ellis combined for one tackle.

2) Special teams not good – The coverage teams have gotten worse as the year has progressed. Today they gave up 30 yards per kick return and 20 yards per punt returns. Fozzy Whitaker had a 50 yard return immediately following the Jets go ahead touchdown that gave the Browns the momentum back and if the Jets didn’t hold them inside the 10 to a field goal could have made the outcome different. Ryan Quigley was not good today either. Quigley’s 1st punt was an attempt to pin the Browns inside their own 20 but it wasn’t high or deep enough and it was caught at the 15 and returned to the 25 yard line. The second kick was 50 yards but too low and a 26 yard return followed. Even Nick Folk was off today missing a go ahead 49 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter when he clanged it off of the upright.

The Ugly