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Rex Ryan began his Qualcomm Stadium postgame press conference in the aftermath of his team’s 31-0 drubbing at the hands of the San Diego Chargers on Sunday by staggering to the podium and prophetically apologizing to any Jets fans “that are left” about the team’s spiraling ineptitude and quickly becoming runaway season.
It marked the first time all afternoon — some might even say season — that either the coach or any of his players had even marginally done anything on cue. Nevertheless, on a Sunday afternoon that proved about as fruitful to the Jets’ overall fortune as a summer snow storm might to a Georgia peach field, the soldier in Ryan was willing to take blame for the ongoing catastrophe all by his lonesome.
Truth be told, he would be only one in a long and growing line of slackers. Quarterback Geno Smith was benched for the entire second half of the Jets’ fourth straight loss after completing just 4-of-12 passes for 27 yards and an unfathomable 7.6 passer rating. But Jets fans hardly had cause or reason for celebration or even exhalation, not with backup Michael Vick completing just 9-of-20 tosses for 47 yards over the second half.
As part of his man-up procession, Ryan later told reporters it wouldn’t have mattered if the Jets had Willie “Joe” Namath himself signaling the calls from center on this day. Yet within minutes, the true depths of the here-and-now Jets’ dysfunction was again revealed when Ryan, as if he hadn’t had a second thought about it, defiantly insisted that Smith would remain at the controls next week when the Jets face the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning.
So pathetic were the Jets against the Chargers that even the typically effusive Smith found reason for pause. “It was definitely a pathetic showing on my part,” he admitted. “I don’t think I helped at any part of the game.”
Indeed, the Jets never crossed midfield before the fourth quarter and have now scored just four touchdowns over their last 14 quarters. Now ask yourself, with Vick experiencing a full week of first team reps with the offense would things really be that abysmal?
Yet, there stood Rex Ryan in the wake of it all proudly declaring “I’m going with Geno. This wasn’t on him. He wasn’t the guy out there blocking or blowing assignments or doing whatever. Geno will be our quarterback next week. That’s just the way it is.”
In the world of sports, timing can be everything. While Smith may turn into a fine quarterback I don’t share Ryan’s obvious heightened evaluation of the second-year quarterback’s skill set. His time might not be now.
It’s Rex Ryan’s job to know that and it’s his responsibility to act on it if the Jets are to have any chance of salvaging an already wayward season.
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