Upon Further Review: Jets Week 12

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
8:00
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An examination of four hot issues from the New York Jets' 19-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens:

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyWill coach Rex Ryan stick by and start struggling QB Geno Smith in the Jets' Week 13 game?
Potential division in the locker room: Understandably, the defense is frustrated by the lack of production on offense. You could tell by the clenched jaws and short answers in the postgame locker room. Can you blame the defense for feeling that way? The Jets produced a season-low 220 total yards, almost taking an oh-fer on third down (1-for-12) and playing as if the field were 200 yards long. The defense was far from perfect, but it played well enough to win. In fact, the Ravens accounted for 126 of their 312 yards on two plays. The Jets have reached a vulnerable stage. If the locker room fractures, it would really hurt Rex Ryan's chances of keeping his job. So far, Ryan has done a nice job of building team chemistry, but those bonds will be tested if the offense continues to sputter.

The quarterback decision: Rookie Geno Smith stunk up the joint again, committing three turnovers and completing only 9 of 22 passes for 127 yards. Afterward, Ryan was noncommittal, declining to say if Smith will remain his starter. That's hardly a vote of confidence, but I don't think it means he has decided to bench Smith in favor of Matt Simms. Ryan didn't want to discuss individuals after the game -- the company line -- saying he wanted to watch the tape first. The coach is in a precarious position. Ryan has to weigh several factors before making a decision, including accountability and locker-room impact. Turning to the unproven Simms would be a Hail Mary, but would he lose the locker room if he sticks with the mistake-prone Smith? Frankly, I'd be surprised if Ryan makes the switch now.

Biggest bust -- the secondary: Looks like the defensive backs need more of those "Buddy Ryan drills," as Ryan called them. The coaches placed a huge emphasis on defending the deep ball, but the Jets still allowed 60- and 66-yard completions. The latter came against rookie cornerback Dee Milliner (yes, him again), who was torched by Jacoby Jones. Safety Ed Reed appeared to be late with deep help, but he was exonerated by Ryan. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, continuing his disappointing year, allowed a 60-yard completion and left the game with a hip injury -- one that bears watching. The Jets have provided plenty of fodder for those who believe they should've kept Darrelle Revis.

Playoffs: Going, going ...: The Jets, who began Sunday as the second wild-card team in the AFC, didn't destroy their playoff hopes. But now they're one of six teams at 5-6, all vying for the second wild card. In one day, they went from the No. 6 position to No. 10. The main problem for the Jets is they're 2-6 in the conference, having lost to three of those 5-6 teams: the Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. In other words, they're in tiebreaker hell. The playoff chatter started after their Week 9 upset of the New Orleans Saints, but they've lost two straight for the first time, having been outscored 56-17. Playoff team? Gimme a break. At this rate, they're lucky if they make it to 8-8.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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