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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Rex Ryan's job, Jets' season are in big trouble

Jets head coach Rex Ryan leaves the field

Jets head coach Rex Ryan leaves the field after losing to the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

A month's worth of football, and all the Jets have to show for it is one win, and that was against a team with a rookie quarterback that is 0-4 and counting.

A month's worth of football, and the Jets are 1-3 and already coming dangerously close to going kerplunk for the rest of the season. We could be witnessing Rex Ryan's run in New York evaporate less than a year after Jets owner Woody Johnson triumphantly announced that Ryan would be back in 2014.

Another alarming loss Sunday, falling 24-17 to the Lions, and the Jets' woes continue with no end in sight. Their next three opponents -- at the Chargers, home to the Broncos and at the Patriots -- all went to the playoffs last season and will undoubtedly be favored to beat them. So if form holds true in all three, that would make the Jets 1-6, and that would be enough evidence for general manager John Idzik to make a coaching change.

And it might prompt Idzik to rethink his conviction about Geno Smith, who struggled yet again and for the first time this season heard chants from the crowd for Ryan to go with Michael Vick. The coach said afterward that Geno is still his guy, this just minutes after Smith not only lost the game, but lost his cool. As he was walking off the field, he was caught on camera cursing at a fan in the stands.

Smith began his postgame news conference with an apology, saying he "let my temper get the best of me in that situation. I have to let that stuff roll off my back, but today, I didn't do well with that."

He didn't do well in the preceding three hours, either. After a promising drive to open the game netted a field goal, Smith went three-and-out on his next five possessions, prompting plenty of boos and calls for Vick to play. Smith did improve in the second half, but on his final drive, the Jets went three-and-out when his swing pass to Chris Ivory in the right flat caromed off Ivory's hands.

Ryan announced immediately after the game that he is sticking with Smith for next week. And possibly beyond that.

"I'm confident in Geno," Ryan said. "I feel good about Geno. I think he will get it turned around. He's a tough, resilient young man. I think we're going to win. We'll win soon."

They had better win soon. To save the season and to save Ryan's job. Despite receiving a contract extension in the offseason, Ryan most likely needs a winning season -- and possibly a playoff berth -- to keep his job. Judging from what we've seen so far, neither outcome will materialize.

This is a bad football team right now, and a poorly coached one at that. The offense hasn't gotten untracked with Smith, and the defense has not played well enough to win. And it's not only the injury-depleted secondary that's at fault -- the Jets' vaunted front seven crumbled, too. There was no better evidence than on the Lions' drive after Smith had gotten the Jets to within 17-10.

Badly in need of a defensive stop, the Jets allowed the Lions to go 90 yards on 14 plays. Matthew Stafford capped the drive by racing around right end for a 1-yard TD run and 14-point lead.

Ryan still has time to correct things, and a win over any of their next three opponents could provide the spark for a resurgence. Though the odds are stacked against NFL teams with losing records after four games, stranger things have happened. Consider: Since the league adopted its current playoff format in 1990, 25 teams have gotten to the playoffs after starting 1-3 or 0-4. That includes last year's Eagles and Panthers.

Things looked bleak for all of those teams, just as they do for the Jets. But if Ryan is to join that unlikely group, then things will have to turn around in a hurry. Judging from the look of things, that doesn't appear likely.

From the quarterback who couldn't maintain his composure both during and after the game, to the defense that played a much smaller game than they talk, to a coaching staff that has woefully underperformed, this looks like a team that's about to go under.

New York Sports