There is a lot more than wins and losses riding on quarterback Geno Smith this season. One better believe that in addition to needing to show improvement in his sophomore season for the New York Jets, his performance in 2014 will also determine whether or not head coach Rex Ryan will have a job after this season. It’s rare that a head coach gets another opportunity to develop a franchise quarterback from the ground up again, but here he is with a second golden chance to prove his worth.
Everyone remembers just how bad and ugly the situation with Mark Sanchez got after Ryan made a boneheaded decision to put in his franchise quarterback late in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason football game. It’s a decision that will probably haunt Ryan for a very long time, and because of it, his leverage with the Jets isn’t what it once was.
The NFL is all about passing these days which means you better have a great quarterback under center or it will be a long season. If Smith develops into a better quarterback and shows his progression, Ryan should be safe to continue his tenure with the Jets. If things start to get really out of hand and Smith continues to be a turnover machine like he was last year, Ryan will be out of a job faster than a New York minute.
Even if the Jets’ cornerback situation, a glaring weakness on the team, becomes an utter disaster this season, Ryan will still be safe. Smith will need to have a strong year to have Ryan around for years to come and prove that he was worth the investment. The moment Smith doesn’t live up to expectations and fans everywhere are chanting for Michael Vick to start, it will start to spell the end of Ryan and his relationship with the Jets.