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For a time, it appeared the New York Jets might turn out to be one of this year's pleasant surprises.
However, as the offense grows more stagnant by the week and the losses mount, the Jets are looking more and more like the team we thought we'd see this year.
According to AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz, this midseason swoon portends big changes coming for Gang Green:
Rex Ryan’s future isn’t attached to Geno Smith, but the head coach and the quarterback are both on a downward trajectory that could spell the end of each with the Jets.
There has not been a worse quarterback in the NFL this year than Smith. The last time he had a good game was the last time the Jets won because of their quarterback, not just in spite of him. Once considered the top quarterback prospect in the 2013 draft class, Smith slipped at a staggering rate, but there was enough physical talent for the Jets to take a chance on him in the second round.
Should the Jets be surprised it hasn’t worked out? Aside from Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, drafting a quarterback after the first round hasn’t been a profitable situation in recent years. Jimmy Clausen, Pat White, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, Kevin Kolb, Drew Stanton and a host of others have failed to develop into long-term starters with Pro Bowl potential.
General manager John Idzik was part of the brain trust with the Seattle Seahawks when they drafted Wilson in the third round in 2012, and the hope was that Smith would develop in a similar way. That has not been the case, and while they’ve learned a lot about Smith in the process, they’ve also been reminded that next year doesn’t have to be this way.
If the benching of Smith was a sign of bigger things to come, it’s not the end of the world. In at least a couple of cases—the Panthers with Clausen to Cam Newton, the Eagles with Kolb to Michael Vick—the franchise went on to bigger and better things in short order.
If Idzik has ties to anyone, it’s certainly not Ryan. Sure, he gave his head coach a vote of confidence in early November, saying Rex has done “very well” and that it’s been “great” working with him, but also said he’s “living in the moment” this season. At the moment, the Jets are on a three-game losing streak, have fallen out of the playoffs for the third consecutive season and are once again fielding one of the league’s worst offenses.
The Jets were never expected to make the playoffs, but with no tangible signs of improvement, it might be hard for Idzik to justify hanging onto the coach he didn’t pick in the first place.