With the 28-7 loss in Seattle against the Seahawks, the New York Jets are now 3-6. Prior to the game, I wrote that the season was on the line, and I was not lying. The Jets are effectively gone from the AFC playoff hunt. The Indianapolis Colts (6-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) are too far ahead in the wild-card race.
Some fans might even hope for a bottoming out season and a high draft pick. But head coach Rex Ryan would have no interest in that attitude. In order for Ryan to maintain his job security, he needs to demonstrate that this team will be competitive next year.
This season the Jets were crippled by a historic rash of injuries. Given that, an 8-8 or even 7-9 finish could be excused. However, if the Jets finish 6-10 or 5-11, then one has to ask how good they were going to be before those injuries.
The goal for Ryan from here on out is to prove the worth of his system and show that the Jets—with their players returning in 2013—will become the contenders they were during the first three years of his tenure.
Here are the key improvements Ryan should try to get from his team to achieve a respectable finish.