Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: Takeaways from New York's 23-3 Loss to Miami
After his worst half of football all season (which is saying something), Geno Smith was benched at halftime. His replacement, Matt Simms, was not much better, only scoring three points.
After three straight losses with such inept offensive play, their upset victory over the Saints seems so far away. The Jets are in trouble, with playoff hopes becoming a distant memory by the week.
Here are the takeaways form this week's loss.
It Doesn't Matter Who the Quarterback Is
Despite the ugly loss, we did learn a lot about the Jets offensive ineptitude over the past month in that not all of the blame can be placed on Geno Smith.
Geno Smith was awful in his own right (just four completions and an interception), but things hardly improved when he was benched in the second half in favor of Matt Simms. The offense scored just three points, while Simms lost a fumble and threw another interception in the red zone.
It has been evident for some time now, but it is clear as day that the Jets need to upgrade just about every position on their starting offensive roster, outside of maybe their offensive tackles.
This does not absolve Simms or Smith from blame. While the quarterbacks are not the sole reason of blame for the Jets' offensive struggles, there is a good chance that the Jets' 2014 starter is not on the roster.
Dee Milliner Is Still a Work in Progress
As the year grinds on, the worse John Idzik's first draft class has looked.
For the third time this season, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner was benched. He started the game without any huge issues, and he even had a few pass breakups. But he began to completely abandon his technique as the game wore on.
His struggles eventually came to a climax when he allowed Mike Wallace to make an easy catch-and-run for a touchdown. Not only did Milliner give Wallace far too much room at the line of scrimmage to make the catch, but he whiffed on the tackle to give the Dolphins the game-sealing touchdown.
Milliner was starting to see a slight improvement from week-to-week, but this week was a huge step back in his development. It is only his first season, but the Jets have to be concern with this play through the first 12 games.
The Wide Receivers Are Abysmal
The Jets' receiving corps were a huge liability last year.
The 2013 group is re-defining the term "liability."
The Jets finished with just four catches from their wide receivers, most of which came in garbage time against a relaxed Dolphins defense. Stephen Hill caught his first pass in about a month—on a two-yard bubble screen.
The Jets are far too reliant on their running backs and tight ends to generate offense through the air, and opposing teams are starting to catch on. If the Jets are going to break out of their offensive "funk", they need to get more production from the wide receivers.
Antonio Cromartie Is Not Healthy
Antonio Cromartie may have had an interception on an errant pass, but he is clearly nowhere close to full health.
Covering Mike Wallace for the majority of the game, Cromartie was so worried about defending the deep pass that he was unable to defend any short route. His hip ailment prevented him from being able to stop and accelerate with any kind of ease.
Had Cromartie been playing against a more versatile receiver, he would have been torched all game long. The Dolphins even ran stretch running plays at Cromartie, knowing that he would struggle to tackle.
Cromartie deserves credit for battling through the injury, but it was a mistake to keep him active for today's game. The Jets would have been better off starting the young Darrin Walls (who flashed on special teams) and allow Cromartie to heal up for one more week.
Secondary Tackling Is a Problem
Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner gave up far too many completions, but their inability to defend passes was not their only problem.
The inability of the Jets' secondary to tackle and contain the completions they did give up turned bad plays into disastrous plays. There were several instances in which the Jets failed to wrap up a receiver, allowing the Dolphins to pick up a huge amount of yardage after the catch.
Ed Reed whiffed on Brian Hartline for a touchdown, while Dee Milliner was eventually benched because of poor tackling on a Mike Wallace touchdown.
The Jets (clearly) have a lot of issues to deal with, but their inability to limit passing plays has been a huge problem all season long.
The Defense Is Worn out
The Jets may have tackling issues, but there may be a good reason why: After a month of offensive ineptitude, even the most well-conditioned Jets defenders are struggling under the pressure.
The Jets played defense for a whopping 38:40, thanks to their inept offensive's inability to sustain a single drive until late in the game in garbage time.
As a result, the Dolphins were able to run for 125 yards (although 22 of those yards came from Ryan Tannehill scrambles), which is much higher than the Jets are used to.
If the offense does not improve anytime soon to give the Jets' defense a much-deserved break, the wear and tear on their bodies is only going to compound and get worse.
Quinton Coples Is Back
There certainly were not many positives to take away from this game from a Jets perspective, but one of the few bright spots was second-year outside linebacker Quinton Coples.
Coples, who has had a slow start to the season as he dealt with an ankle injury, appears to be finally back to his old form. He finished with a sack and a tackle for loss in addition to several other pressures.
He may have taken advantage of a subpar Dolphins offensive line, but this was a nice breakout game for a player with so much potential.
Rex Ryan's Job Is No Longer Safe
Not long ago, Rex Ryan was in the conversation as a Coach of the Year candidate.
Now, he finds himself in a familiar spot, back in hot water with his job on the line.
While Ryan's Jets have faded quickly over the past month, he has not exactly been put in a great position to succeed. His offensive personnel is subpar at best, and his rookie quarterback has hit a massive wall.
Some of his decisions, including influencing his general manager to pick up Ed Reed, have not gone as smoothly as he envisioned, but such decisions are not the root of the Jets' problems.
Simply put, the Jets don't have enough good players, and Ryan is going to start taking the blame for it—as unfair as it may seem.
Rex can save his job with a strong finish over the next month, but it will take a spectacular coaching job to do so.