The Rex watch: Week 16

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Updated: December 24, 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 16 opponent:  Cleveland Browns

Takeaways:  Receiving a stellar performance out of Geno Smith for the first time in weeks (or months), the Jets beat the Browns 24-13 this past Sunday in the home finale to push their record to 7-8. 

Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, it wasn’t too far-fetched to envision this team coming apart at the seams and getting a head start on their vacation planning.  True to their word though, the Jets continued to fight for Rex and proceeded to run off an impressive succession of offensive and defensive plays. 

The key to Geno’s effective day was the protection he received from the offensive line. The boys in the trenches managed to keep their QB upright, allowing no sacks and no quarterback hits.  Geno showed that when he has time he can step up in the pocket and make all the throws, and it was encouraging to see him actually survey the field and go through his progressions a few times in order to locate the open man.  It was his third turnover-free game of the season, and in the end he passed for 214 yards and threw for two touchdowns.  Geno also made a number of plays with his legs and put this contest to bed with a 17-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. 

The offense managed to keep drives together by converting on a number of third downs (12-for-18 for the day), with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley being one of the primary reasons, catching four of his five passes on third down for three conversions.  The rushing attack pounded their way for 208 yards, their third straight 100-yard performance against a top-10 run defense.

With Black Monday rapidly approaching, what remains to be seen is whether or not the Jets will bring Rex back.  His players all emphatically want him to return, while the media and a majority of the fans all believe he still deserves to still be the coach here.  The popular thinking is that Idzik wants his own guy, but that would completely disregard the job Rex did this year with a roster that was thought to be worth anywhere from 3-5 wins. 

Winning at Miami this weekend and finishing up at 8-8 would be a great way to end the season, but honestly it shouldn’t impact the decision on Rex.  This decision should’ve been made weeks ago, as the arrow is clearly pointing up.  If Idzik and Woody Johnson are too ignorant to appreciate the coaching that was done this year and the solid pieces this team has in place for the future, then they truly did setup their coach to fail this year. 

Record:  7-8

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

Who’s next:  12/29 at Miami

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.   

Follow us on Twitter:@PACsSports

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