BALTIMORE - Geno Smith can hear the calls for change.
"Everyone wants to put a new quarterback in. I understand that," the Jets rookie quarterback said on Sunday. "But I'm not worried about anything other than trying to get better as a player."
Latest Jets stories
The thing is, Smith should be worried about losing his job. Because he's not getting better, and neither he nor the Jets can ignore that obvious fact.
Sunday's 19-3 loss to the Ravens -- a team also in contention for an AFC postseason berth -- was the latest fiasco in Smith's six-game regression. And in a game Rex Ryan's team desperately needed to win to keep their own playoff hopes alive, Smith and the Jets came up painfully small. Again.
For the first time this season, they lost back-to-back games. And for the first time, their coach wouldn't commit to having Smith start the next one.
"We'll look at the tape," Ryan said when asked if Smith (9-for-22, 127 yards, 22.3 QB rating) gives them the best chance of making the playoffs.
Smith, who threw two interceptions, leads the NFL with 18.
"I'm not going to talk about one individual," Ryan said. "That's not where I'm at tonight. This is on us collectively and how we can improve moving forward."
The Jets (5-6) continue to ride the emotional wave of starting a rookie quarterback trying to navigate his way through uncharted territory. And everyone on board this wayward ship looks seasick.
The Jets' alternating streak of wins and losses is over. They're 1-8 against Baltimore and 0-5 at M & T Bank Stadium. More importantly, they've been bumped to the AFC playoff periphery.
Though Ryan refused to point the finger at Smith (he focused on the drops by his wide receivers), his declining play is making things tougher on everyone, especially the defense.
Since throwing three touchdown passes in a Week 5 win in Atlanta, Smith has one TD pass and 10 interceptions. The Jets have scored one touchdown in their last 31 possessions with Smith at quarterback.
"I'm not going to sit here and say my job is 100 percent secure, because every single guy in this locker room has to prove himself daily," he said. "So I'm going to take that upon myself to go back to practice and to work hard again . . . and come back out next Sunday with that same fire."
His passes often were offline, but his pass protection often was porous and his receivers repeatedly dropped the ball. The Jets were 1-for-12 on third-down conversions and mustered only 220 yards.
"That's not good enough to win any games," tight end Jeff Cumberland said.
Said center Nick Mangold: "We've got to give ourselves third-and-manageable. We've got to run the ball a little bit better, we've got to protect a little bit better. So I guess overall, just about everything [isn't working]."
Nick Folk was responsible for the Jets' only points with a 27-yard field goal that opened the scoring. And if the Ravens (5-6) were anything close to their Super Bowl championship team of 2012, they would've blown out the Jets from the start. But they let them hang around until Joe Flacco (17-for-26, 273 yards, one TD) connected with Jacoby Jones on a 66-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in the third quarter. Jones beat the struggling Dee Milliner and safety Ed Reed to put the game out of reach at 19-3.
"I'm not going to pin it on any individual," Ryan said. "It's certainly not on one guy. Certainly not Ed Reed. He'd probably be the third on that list, if you want all honesty."
A frustrated Muhammad Wilkerson (two sacks) stated the obvious in the locker room. "We can't let other teams have explosive plays," he said. "We can't have the same mistakes beat us. Eleven men got to do their job."
Still, there were some who offered full support of Smith. Mangold said he has "plenty of confidence" in him, adding: "I know what he believes he can do. And I know it's there."
Said Josh Cribbs: "We've got to get him focused on next week. Because when he is hitting on all cylinders, he can't be stopped."