Never mind the fact that the Jets only threw the ball 18 times in their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ignore the fact that more pass plays were called but Geno Smith took off and ran once he felt pressure. Forget Rex Ryan’s history of clearly wanting to have a team that can win by playing good defense and employing a ball control, ground and pound offense.
None of this mattered to the conspiracy theorists, despite all common sense these people concluded that somehow Ryan was symbolically extending a middle finger to John Idzik. The same coach that everyone agrees is playing the good soldier and not creating waves by publicly supporting his GM during press conferences probably wouldn’t try and make a statement by purposely sticking it to his GM on national television.
The theory was born because the Jets went back to Smith as their starter so they could further evaluate the second-year quarterback. So, of course they would want him to throw the ball because no one evaluates how a quarterback hands the ball off. That all makes sense, where the conspiracy theory goes the way of the tinfoil hats is by ignoring the matchup.
Yes, the Dolphins had a banged up secondary but they also have an elite pass rush and suspect run defense. The Jets meanwhile have great run blocking and suspect pass protection. Obviously it’s hard to evaluate a quarterback that only throws 13 passes but it’s equally hard to judge a quarterback who is constantly running for his life because he’s being pressured all most immediately.
“We had a sack when we were doubling a particular player. That bothers me just a little bit,” Marty Mornhinweg said. “That’s not right. And then we weren’t synchronized on another, one when it was just a Mike (linebacker) coming. We’ve got to get the job done, yeah.”
It’s absolutely fair to criticize the game plan, not as much to start but once the Dolphins defense started to clamp down it’s fair to think the Jets maybe should have tried to air the ball out a little more but to somehow make the leap that that goes against Ryan’s character is much more than a stretch. Most teams will try to game plan against the Dolphins and for much of the game the Jets were in control so in typical Ryan fashion they stuck with the run while trying to hold on for the win.
This week will probably produce a similar game plan. The Vikings have a great pass defense and a weak run defense. If the Jets fall behind early they’ll be forced to air it out more but if they have a lead they’ll most likely stick with the running game. Yes, now is the time to evaluate Smith and the younger players but make no mistake about it Ryan wants to win. He has no interest in ending the season 2-14. He knows he’s time here is done but he wants to win as many games as he can for himself, his staff and his players. And he’s not about to do the next coaches job for him at the expense of trying to win.
But just because the game plan was run heavy last week and will likely be run heavy this week it doesn’t mean they will hide Smith for the rest of the season. Over the course of the next four games you can absolutely expect to see Smith throw more passes for the next coaching staff to evaluate. Will those passes translate to success and wins is all Ryan cares about at this point.
“The five game scenario, we are going to do what we think is best for that particular game. And then you evaluate. In some cases, yeah you would like to see him throw the ball so you can get a little better evaluation and all those things,” Mornhinweg said. “But over a five game span there is going to be plenty to evaluate, so that is sort of the way I look at that. And I think that is pretty real, that statement.”