Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan during the first half of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
It has not been the start that Rex Ryan has hoped for. The Jets are out of the gate at 1-6, and barring a miracle, looking at the playoffs from the outside once again. The Jets have been close in nearly every game, but close only counts in horseshoes, as they say. They are 1-6. The standings do not care that they have face some of the best quarterbacks in the entire sport, every week for the past six. All we have are wins and losses to measure a team.
But, the schedule lightens up over the last nine games. The Jets face Buffalo twice, Miami twice, the Vikings, the Titans, the Chiefs, the Steelers, and the Patriots once more. I am not saying the Jets turn it into a miracle run to the playoffs. But, the Jets do have the capability to make this a 6-10 season. They can be a respectable team again.
Here are some keys to making it happen:
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots strong safetyPatrick Chung
(23) tackles New York Jets quarterbackGeno Smith
(7) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
GENO SMITH MUST BE EFFICIENT, NOT SCARED: It’s really not hard to figure out. When Geno Smith has completed 50% or more of his passes, the Jets have been close in a game, with the chance to win. The game he was terrible, the Jets were shut out. It’s simple formula. Complete your passes, and don’t turn the ball over, and the Jets will have a chance in every game.
But, Geno cannot be scared. He cannot play as if he is AFRAID to commit a turnover. We have seen the Jets problems in the red zone. Too many field goals, not enough touchdowns. As we talked about earlier this week, when Geno scrambles, he must be prepared to stop and hit a receiver down field when he comes open. Otherwise he could be too conservative, and cost the Jets points.
Geno Smith must be an efficient Jets quarterback, but not a scared one.
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA.New York Jets running backChris Ivory
(33) runs with ball against New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23)l during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
POUND IT WITH THE HOT RUNNING BACK: What was my favorite thing the Jets did the other night against the Patriots? They continued to run the football with Chris Ivory. Why? Because he was running well, that’s why. Running backs run well when they get the football, not when they are shuffled in and out of the game every few plays. Giving the ball to Chris Ivory more than 20 times is more often than not going to be a recipe for a New York Jets victory.
Yes, the Jets have an able-bodied committee of running backs. Chris Johnson, out in space, can be a lethal weapon. This is not to say it is time to bury Johnson on the bench. But if Chris Ivory is running well, and he has spent mos of the year doing so, give him the ball. You guys know my saying by now, he runs like he is mad at the grass. He is hungry, feed him the rock, and it will continue to pay the Jets dividends.
Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets players and coaches observe a moment of silence in honor of the shooting victims of Sandy Hook elementary school before the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. From left: quarterbackMark Sanchez
(6), coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coachDennis Thurman
and cornerbackEllis Lankster
(26). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
A PHYSICAL SECONDARY: The Jets secondary has its deficiencies. We know that. They are littered with young, inexperienced players. Quarterbacks have destroyed them. So, how does Dennis Thurman, Rex Ryan and company accommodate and try to hide those problems? They must get physical, that is how.
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How many times have we watched the Jets, and seen them giving huge cushions to wide receivers? The safeties play 20 yards off of the line of scrimmage on third and short? It doesn’t even take a great quarterback to be able to beat that, every single time. The Jets’ secondary is so concerned about getting beaten deep, that they play too deep, thus playing scared. To turn things around, the secondary is going to have to get their hands on these receivers, and start taking them off their routes.
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiverJulian Edelman
(11) runs the ball against New York Jets inside linebackerDemario Davis
(56) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
HOW ABOUT A TURNOVER? I understand that the Jets no longer have the big playmakers like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. But, Muhammad Wilkerson is still there. Demario Davis is emerging, as is Sheldon Richardson. There are dynamic players on the Jets’ defense. But what they can NEVER do is get a turnover in a big spot to turn a game in their favor.
To get back on the right track, the Jets are going to have to start doing so. If they continue to be in the negative in the turnover ratio, the season is going to continue to be long, and ugly.
Those are my keys, what are your keys to the Jets getting back on the winning track?