By Steve Silverman
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Let’s get something straight: The Jets were never going all in this season.
When they hired John Idzik as their general manager following the disastrous 2012 season, he was not under any pressure to turn the Jets into a winner in 2013.
If that had been the case, he would have fired Rex Ryan right away and brought in his own coach.
If the Jets had been desperate to win games in 2013, they would have brought in a solid veteran like Jason Campbell or Josh McCown to be able to step in if rookie Geno Smith had problems.
Smith may well develop into a decent NFL quarterback, although he has taken some big hits in recent weeks. He has some athletic ability and a strong enough arm. However, his tendency to throw the ball into coverage because he doesn’t know how to read defenses yet has slowed his progress dramatically.
Smith is not the kind of rookie quarterback who can lead a team to the playoffs. He is lacking the charisma that Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III showed last year.
There were enough question marks on Smith’s resume before getting drafted that would have told Idzik that a real backup quarterback was needed.
They got rid of Tim Tebow, who would not have been effective because he can’t throw the ball accurately. Matt Simms was completely unproven and therefore had no credibility.
If you were thinking that Smith was merely supposed to be the backup to Mark Sanchez, that plan never would have worked if Sanchez had stayed healthy.
Sanchez is a proven commodity, and he has proven that he is not good enough to start in the NFL. So, once he had crapped out around Week 5 or 6, that’s when Smith would have gotten his opportunity.
It would have taken him at least two weeks after that to get sufficient practice time, and then he would have had to start producing.
What you have seen is what you would have gotten from Smith as a backup.
There was no backup plan because Idzik never had anything more than cursory interest in the Jets winning in 2013.
Ryan is not stupid. He knew the score as soon as the Jets hired Idzik last year. Any general manager wants to have his own coach leading the team, and not the holdover from the previous administration.
That the Jets have played better than they did last year and had a winning record (5-4) in their first nine games is testimony that Ryan is a half-decent head coach.
He will get fired at the end of the 2013 season, but he has a decent shot at getting a head-coaching position next year. If he does not, he has an excellent chance of becoming a head coach prior to the 2015 season.
This is the way it’s often done in the NFL. That’s what the Chicago Bears did last year.
They hired Phil Emery to be their general manager in 2012 and they let Lovie Smith coach that season. As soon as the year was over — and the Bears were not in the playoffs — Emery fired Smith and hired his own man as head coach.
Marc Trestman is perhaps the polar opposite of Smith. Trestman is an offensive guru and the Bears have been productive on that side of the ball. They were a dominant defensive team under Smith, and that part of their game has fallen apart.
The Jets are likely to go the same way. Idzik will most likely bring in an offensive-minded head coach to take over the team next year.
The Jets are one of six AFC teams with a 5-6 record. They have a chance to make the playoffs.
They don’t have a decent quarterback, so that means their chances of actually surviving and getting the sixth seed are not realistic.
But even if that happened, they would almost certainly lose in the first round, and that would not be enough to preserve Ryan’s job.
He knows it. Idzik knows it. Jets fans should know it as well.
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