Can Jets Revive Hopes This Afternoon Following November Meltdown?
Geno Smith will operate under a lot of pressure today
The Miami Dolphins 23-3 drubbing over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium last Sunday cast a dark shadow on their hopes of making the playoff in the AFC wild car race and stirs questions about their future.
Can they re-ignite today?
Going into today's game against the Raiders, the Jets offensively has scored 14 points or fewer in five of its last seven games: Geno Smith, rookie quarterback was benched after the first half, because of his performance of going 4-for-10 for 29 yards with an interception.
Veteran back up, David Garrard, who hasn’t played in three years wasn’t activated for the game and Mark Sanchez is still on the injured list collecting his $8 million check on the sideline and more than likely will roll the dices with another team next season.
So Matt Simms, son of ex-Giants Phil Simms got the call to replace Smith. He managed to scrounge three points for the Jets.
As for that game, the first drive by the Dolphins set the tone for the entire day. Miami on the opening drive drove the ball downfield for 15 plays accumulating 69 yards and held the ball for nine minutes and ten seconds. Luckily for the Jets, the Dolphins field goal kicker snubbed the 41-yard field goal, but the Jets defensively were held on the field for 25 minutes in the first half.
"I didn’t really pay attention to it. I don’t really care,” said New York Jets corner back Antonio Cromartie. “We feel like as long as we are on the field it is another opportunity for us to go out and try to make a play. That is how we look at it and that is how you have to continue to look at it.”
Before the game, the New York Jets defensively was ranked the number one team for stopping the rush. They allowed Lamar Miller to gain 72 yards on 22 carries and Miami as a team to go for 125 yards on 36 carries for 3.5 yards per carry, which was the most the Jets allowed this season for an opponent. However, the Jets secondary was lit up by Miami’s quarterback, Ryan Tannehill who completed the game with 331 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's not just the defense — it's the whole team," said defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson of the Jets' breakdown. "We haven't played great ball, all three phases. Once we start doing that week in and week out, we'll see the outcome of these games get better."
However, the question for the Jets is who will start the next game against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium. Will it be Geno Smith? "I don't know," he said, when asked. "We'll have to find out as the week goes on."
Matt Simms could get the nod. "I don't know about that," he also said. "I'm just going to go back to work like I have this entire season."
Maybe it’s time for David Garrard to dust off the cobwebs and throw himself in the mix? "That could be a possibility," head coach Rex Ryan said. "We looked at that today."
The New York Jets are 5-7 for the season, mathematically they’re not out of the playoff hunt, but their passing rating in the past three games is 27.3, the second-lowest three-game in-season rating since 1980.
New York Jets is a tough place for a rookie quarterback; the Jets hoped to get Mark Sanchez-like rookie performance from Smith. Of course Sanchez faded as the seasons went by.
As for rookie quarterbacks in general, some are high draft picks with huge expectations, like Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. And some quarterbacks fly under the radar and somehow blossom at the right moment; like Russell Williams of the Seattle Seahawks.
There’s a list of rookie quarterbacks that had a bad year in the beginning but grew threw the turmoil. Terry Bradshaw was drafted first overall in 1970 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had 24 interceptions and a mere 30.4 quarterback rating for a 5-9 record.
Jim Zorn of the Seattle Seahawk had a bad rookie season, 27 interceptions. Troy Aikman threw nine touchdowns, 18 interceptions and threw for just 379 yards his rookie season. Even Eli Manning had critics doubting the Giants for entrusting their foundation in him.
"We had a tough loss," Smith said, when asked about last week's game.
"My confidence in myself is always going to be sky-high. But at the same time I've got to realize that as a team we didn't get it done today, so there's a lot of looking in the mirror we've got to do. Individually, I've got to look at myself in the mirror and figure out ways to get better. It seems like I say this every week, but there's always a way to get better and I've got plenty of room to improve." Over his last seven games, Smith has thrown 10 interceptions and one touchdown pass.
Either way, opposition against the Jets has now found the perfect formula to beat them: loading their defensive box and forcing the Jets to throw the ball. “Clearly, we have a ton of work to do,” said head coach Ryan. “We’re watch the tape and take it from there.”
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