A grab bag of opinions on the state of the team

Howdy folks. These are all just opinions and aren't super duper fleshed-out, but I feel like sharing my own POV on some of the affairs with this organization. These views aren't from a hardcore, film-watching football analyst, just someone who's a Jets fan.

1.) Rex Ryan

Short story: I agree with keeping Rex, but I'm not completely positive about him either.

Long Story: We all know the stories of how this team wasn't supposed to win more than 5 games at the start of the season (my personal prediction was 6-10), and even though everyone likes to point to it as the trendy thing for the mainstream public to do at the time, let's take a step back and look at what the scenario was. We had a rookie quarterback who many people figured wasn't ready for the pro game in year 1, we unloaded 7(?) starters on defense and replaced many of them with rookies and unproven players. Our much-maligned receiving corps of 2012 wasn't upgraded, in fact with Holmes' injury it looked worse. To top it off we didn't have any back who proved they could take the bulk of the carries in a season to lean on for a run game. There was very little reason to be optimistic about the team. And Rex did get to 8 wins with this same roster. Several of these wins were against teams most people agreed were more talented than us (Even against bad teams like the Bucs and Falcons there wasn't much optimism surrounding us winning those games,and for valid reason at the time). I think trying to say Rex deserves no credit for getting this team to overachieve is a pretty biased sentiment. When it comes down to it, I think Rex did a good job.

That being said, it's not like he did a perfect job either. In fact, I think one could argue that he didn't even do a great job (but still good). Playoffs were really just the brand-new Maserati we wanted for Christmas, but they were still a real possibility at one point. And Rex surely deserves his share of the blame for not capitalizing on it. He had a bye week to prepare against a rookie quarterback missing his top 2 receivers, and his team comes out flat, unprepared, and gets blown out. That falls right on Rex's shoulders. It's not like this is an accident, too many times over Rex's time here has this team come out sleepwalking against beatable opponents. Heck, it happened at least 2 others times this season. He's also never been an above-average game manager, and I think what we see by now is what we get on that front. The player favoritism was also still there, but it wasn't as bad this year, and he at least did bench players for poor performance, so I won't rag him as much for that as I did last year. I think it's really just the inconsistent ability to show up that bothers me about Rex more than anything, but that is an absolutely enormous flaw that's (in my opinion) really held Rex back from being a really great head coach. And really, it's hard to see that changing; Rex's player-friendly nature is a double-edged sword in that his guys will have his back, but he's also probably not hard enough on them sometimes.

All that said though, I think keeping him makes sense. One of the main signals to fire a head coach is when his players aren't playing for him anymore. Needless to say that isn't the case right now. I also think keeping him conducive to this team's chances of using 2013 as a springboard instead of a mirage. I believe that continuity with the head coach is needed in this case since supplanting him would require someone else to come in and implement his new system, culture, and demand whatever changes are necessary. When you're trying to make the jump I don't think that makes much sense. This way we can just focus on plugging the holes we have and picking up where we left off.

So yeah, I think Rex does deserve to coach us in 2014, and i'm happy to see him salvage his job with a solid coaching performance, but i'm not buying a billion stocks either. I can still see this going off the rails next year and us going back to square 1 in 2015. I'd say i'm a little more on the optimistic side though.

2.) Geno Smith

Geno showed some good things this season. He showed that his above-average mobility can be used as a weapon, he has a good throwing arm, and he had some really nice games against the Bills, Falcons, and Browns. That being said it got really ugly quite a few times. I can't say that isn't concerning, it very much is. He looked utterly lost in games against the Bengals, Bills 2, and Dolphins 1. At the same time, it probably wasn't too bizarre to think that Geno wasn't going to be an RG-III plug-and-stud or an Andrew Luck. Coming out of his college offense, he had a ways to go before being really ready for an NFL offense. And I don't think it should be that much of a surprise that it did get ugly at times. I think an off-season to digest what happened and get a better idea of what he's doing will do him some good. I also sound like a Parrot right now, but yeah, our group of pass-catchers was abysmal. Only about 3 receivers we had would even be on another NFL roster, and this already crummy group got hit with injuries too. Even Tom Brady could only do so much with a rag-tag group of nobodies. No, i'm not saying Geno Smith is Tom Brady, but I think it's at least worth giving the guy another chance with a competent group of NFL receivers. Am I fully sold on Geno? No. Am I even on the more optimistic side of that? Ehhh. I think i'm on the fence, maybe slightly more on the pessimistic side. History unfortunately shows that a bad rookie season is usually not in line with a positive career arc, but i'm open to seeing what happens. I do think this team absolutely needs to pursue an adequate veteran in case it doesn't work out, and make Geno legitimately earn the starting job in training camp.

3.) The defense

I gotta say, I feel pretty good about this unit. Obviously, this team has a great run-stuffing front seven that looks to be fully intact for next season. The pass-rush still isn't great, but I'm surprised almost nobody's noted that we're getting Antwan Barnes back off of IR. Although I can still agree with getting another OLB in free agency or the draft. We don't absolutely have to pursue Orakpo or anything, but an upgrade is certainly welcome. I'm expecting that we're gonna get another safety too, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen doesn't make a superstar duo, and now that we don't have a 1-on-1 shutdown corner anymore, we shouldn't be content with those two. I like Allen, but I think upgrading Landry's spot is a welcome change. As far as the corners go, I don't expect Cro to be back unless he takes a gigantic pay cut, so we're probably gonna have to find a new no. 2 corner. I say no. 2 because I very much expect Milliner to be our no. 1. He really looked like a changed man the last few games, and ended up with more pass defenses (17) than several really good cornerbacks, including Richard Sherman and Brent Grimes (i'm not implying Milliner's and all-pro yet, it's just a cool stat). I'm gonna lay it out there, I think Milliner's gonna be great. He's been a great corner at every level before this, and I think he's ready to do it in the NFL.

4.) The receivers

We need them, I think that goes without saying. There are some pretty decent options in free agency in Jeremy Machlin, Anquan Boldin, and Jacoby Jones that I don't think we necessarily have to break the bank for. I'd rather not take a chance on the injury-prone Hakeem Nicks or the possible system product Eric Decker. I wouldn't be super unhappy with those players, but I don't necessarily think we have to gamble on them when this draft appears to be pretty rich with receivers and tight ends. As far as the current group goes, Kerley's a keeper, and Nelson's not a bad no. 3 or 4, but that's about all the good I can say. It's time to move on from Holmes. I don't think you can bank on Hill making the leap anymore, but I guess there's no harm in leaving him on the roster for now and seeing if he can make the team in training camp.

So yeah, I just felt like laying some thoughts out there. Thanks for reading. Now instead of a random poll, i'm gonna ruin your day with a Nickelback song. Muhahaha!!!

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