The Rex watch: Week 14

Updated: December 11, 2013

With external pressure at an all-time high and internal pressure simmering due to the arrival of new GM John Idzik, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is essentially coaching for his job this year.  What will it take for him to survive the axe?  Barring a Woody Johnson intervention on his behalf, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of seven or eight wins along with a clear indication that the rebuilding job is going as planned.  With this as a backdrop, I will monitor the progress of my Jets on a weekly basis and try and gauge the prospects of Rex keeping his job.       

Week 14 opponent:  Oakland Raiders

Takeaways:  It was a bit of a role reversal this past Sunday, as for one of the few times this year it was the Jets’ offense (and special teams) that did the heavy lifting and carried a defensive that was struggling to stop the opposition.  Geno Smith finally got off the snide, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another as the team set a season high for points and halted a three-game skid with a 37-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

I realize this performance took place against an Oakland squad that has performed historically bad on trips to the Eastern time zone, but the Jets needed this win in the worst way.  Their playoff chances remained alive for at least another week (albeit on life support), and Rex was able to buy himself some currency with a press corps waiting to jump on the next loss.    

He still had his shaky moments, but I’d have to say Geno probably had his best game since the win at Atlanta.  The return of Jeremy Kerley helped the cause, as he spread the ball around to a number of his receivers and used his legs to create opportunities when the pocket got too crowded.  The Jets’ offense will be in stepping up in class in a big way next week when they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers.  The Panthers possess one of the top defenses in all of football, just recently besting the Jets and taking over as the unit with the NFL’s top ranked rush defense.  If New York can’t move the ball consistently and generate offense they will be in serious danger of getting their doors blown off in a hurry.

Hopefully Rex Ryan’s defense got the last of their subpar performances out of their system, as they can’t have another repeat of this outing against the Raiders if this team is to have any hope of winning another game this season.  They got chewed up for nearly 400 total yards, allowing Oakland quarterback Matt McGloin to pick them apart with his passing and fullback Marcel Reece to run the ball down their throats on the ground.  It’s quite possible the defense is beginning to show some signs of wear and tear; this unit has been on the field a lot this year due to the ineptitude on the other side of the ball, and eventually all those plays and one-sided times of possession add up. 

Against Cam Newton and company, the Jets’ defense has to bring it.  It will probably take their most dominant performance to date to win a game of this magnitude, on the road against a team as talented as Carolina.  Though I worry about next week getting out of hand, I’ll try and recall the surprising performances earlier in the year against New England and New Orleans as proof that the Jets can rise to the occasion and compete against some of the best teams in this league.   

Record:  6-7

Rex Watch:  Likely remaining wins needed to keep job –   8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Who’s next:  12/15 at Carolina

Dennis Chalk is a lifelong fan of the Jets and Mets, a true glutton for punishment.  He hopes to live long enough to see at least one of his teams have a championship season.   

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