The Rex watch: Week 17

Updated: January 2, 2014

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 17 opponent:  Miami Dolphins

Takeaways:  On the heels of a 20-7 victory over the Dolphins, Woody Johnson ended weeks of speculation by announcing that Rex Ryan will return as coach of the New York Jets next season.

It was the right decision by Johnson and Idzik, for despite missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year Rex, was able to lead a young team seriously lacking in talent on the offensive side of the ball to a surprising 8-8 record. I honestly believe this was Ryan’s best coaching job to date, displaying the ability to get the most out of a squad predicted by most to win between three and five games.

The team played a fairly complete game on both sides in this one.  Geno Smith put together another nice (and error free) outing, making plays with both his arm and legs. After watching him play the last two weeks I still find myself looking back at that three game losing streak following the bye and lamenting how poorly he played during that stretch. Geno wasn’t the only culprit, but if we had won even one of those contests we could be looking at a playoff game this weekend.

It will be a busy offseason for Idzik, who is tasked with restocking a team in desperate need of more skill-position talent. He has around $40 million of cap space along with around ten draft picks to utilize, leaving him with no reason not to build a more complete roster.  Though Idzik will be the one in the spotlight over the course of the next few months, Rex will be back in the crosshairs next year facing a playoffs or bust situation. His fate will likely be determined by how Geno (or the next QB performs, because if the offense ever becomes a reliable NFL caliber unit I have no doubt he can lead this franchise back to the postseason.

Record:  8-8

Rex Watch:  Likely remaining wins needed to keep job – 0

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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