Dec 1, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles with the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets: Can They Get Past Their Recent Shortcomings?

At the beginning of the season, the New York Jets appeared to be an under the radar team that had just enough spunk and perseverance to be moderately successful when they needed to be.  While the Jets initial 5-5 start wasn’t exactly an inspirational turnaround from last season, it seemed to suggest that this team was capable of garnering key wins at the right time.  However, ever since the Jets impressive victory over the New Orleans Saints, this team has gone from being successfully scrappy to woefully inconsistent.

While the Jets were able to put 26 points against a stout Saints defense, they have only scored 20 points in their last three games.  Although the Jets have a solid rushing attack that has been able to rush for 124.7 yards per game (10th in the NFL) their passing game has taken a turn for the worse, as Geno Smith has only been able to throw for 179.1 yards per game (worst in the NFL).  Although Smith wasn’t a breakout rookie quarterback, he proved that when he found his rhythm he could string together a few well-orchestrated offensive drives.  However, as this season has worn on, Smith’s inexplicable inconsistencies have finally caught up with him as Smith as thrown six interceptions in his last three games.  Worse still, Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his last five games and hasn’t completed more than 45% of his passes since the Jets devastating loss to the Cincinnati Bengals over a month ago.  As a result of Smith’s drastic decline in terms of his throwing capabilities, head coach Rex Ryan was finally forced to bench Smith during yesterday’s game against the Miami Dolphins in the second half.  Unfortunately, back quarterback Matt Simms didn’t fair much better as he only threw for 79 yards and an interception.

To be fair, Smith isn’t the only one who has struggled to be proficient in critical moments.  Surprisingly, the Jets once dominant and imposing secondary has been sadly demoralized as they have allowed 256.8 passing yards this season (25th in the NFL). While it’s hard to blame the Jets secondary for their lack of tenacity because of how much time they spend on the field trying to bail out their quarterback, they still lack the basic defensive awareness that is needed to stop big plays.  In their last two games, the Jets secondary has allowed long touchdown passes of 66, 31 and 28 yards against the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens respectively.  While this wouldn’t be completely surprising if these gashing scores came at the hands of one of the elite passers in the league, the Jets secondary was put in its place by two passer who have been fairly mediocre thus far this season.

It appears that the only athletic aspect that the Jets excel at is their dominant defensive line which has proven be to supremely effective at stopping the run consistently throughout this season as they have only allowed 77 rushing yards per game (1st in the NFL).  While their defensive front gave them some breathing room in the past, by itself it isn’t enough to stop teams who have legitimate passers that can quickly release the ball to wide open receivers.  Even teams that have great running backs like Miami and Buffalo know they can fall back on their less than stellar passing games because of how weak the Jets secondary has become.  Sadly, because of the Jets unremarkable pass defense and their abominable passing game, their defensive lines valiant battles in the trenches go almost completely unnoticed.  Without a balanced defense, the Jets uncanny ability to stop the run is all but obsolete given how prominent the passing game has become in recent years.

In the end, the Jets have found themselves becoming the forgettable franchise that they were last year.  For their frustrated head coach Rex Ryan, this season has slowly brought on an unwanted sense of déjà vu, as the Jets quarterback conundrum has finally become an unavoidable issue this season.  Without an efficient quarterback and an exceptional secondary, the Jets only claim to fame is a stout defensive front who’s potential has been wasted thanks to the transgressions of every other aspect of this ailing franchise.

Tags: New York Jets NFL

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