Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Rex Isn’t Done. Far From It

Thanks to self-belief and some standout performances, the Jets have been better than anyone—except their once-embattled coach—expected. Plus, your letters on football and your heartfelt thoughts on Bailey

A few housekeeping matters on a busy Tuesday:

• I’ll never be able to thank all of you personally—via email, Twitter, text message (wow—dog lover John Madden checked in) and voicemail—for your kind thoughts about the death of Bailey the Golden Retriever. Somewhere, I’m sure, she is blushing. I’ll have a section at the end of this column with some of your sentiments. Just know I’m grateful to have such a warm internet community (that’s a crazy way to look at it, but in today’s world that’s the way it is) at times like this.

• Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB was in Tampa last night, and, after so much of the Incognito/Martin story was aired in Monday’s column, I’ll let her story speak for our Dolphins coverage today. Here’s Jenny’s take on the state of the Dolphins.

We have a powerful story on the site today about the downfall of Sam Hurd, the former Cowboys and Bears wide receiver ensnared in a major drug trafficking investigation. I strongly recommend the strange and captivating tale by Michael McKnight.

Now, a short column top on the state of a team we never thought we’d see in playoff contention in the middle of November …

* * *

Thrown into the deep end, Geno Smith has learned quickly, with wins over Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)
Thrown into the deep end, Geno Smith has learned quickly, with wins over Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

In the summer I visited Jets camp in Cortland, N.Y., and spent a few minutes with Rex Ryan after practice. I thought, like everyone else in football America, that Ryan was on his farewell tour with the Jets. I’d been around him enough to know that he was a relentless optimist, and I said to him that, even though the horizon looked dark, he could always take solace in the fact that he was going to survive at least five years as a head coach in the cauldron of New York professional sports.

“You know,” he said, “I never came here for the security of the job. I never came here to survive. I came here to win. And this year, well, we’ll see. I hear what people are saying. I know we are more talented than people give us credit for. I have been around long enough to know what a good team looks like. So we’ll see. We will work our ass off to get things done. We’ll see.”

So now, after nine games, here’s what we have: The Jets, 5-4, have a one-game lead on five teams for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. If the season ended today, they’d travel to meet their old friend in Indianapolis in a wild-card game. The Jets got their starting quarterback knocked out for the year in the third preseason game, and they’ve played a rookie, Geno Smith, who wasn’t ready for the job when it was handed to him, and who has turned it over way too much (16 in nine games) … but who has a certain precociousness about him. In a five-game span, he played well enough to beat Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

What think you, Rex?

“We believe in ourselves,” Ryan says now. “We are playing complimentary football. The so-called experts knew nothing about our team. Nothing. We’ve got a defensive line playing as well as any in football, with a guy, Muhammad Wilkerson, who should be in the conversation for defensive player of the year. So I like where we are.”

Thanks in part to the performance of Muhammad Wilkerson (left), a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, the Jets D has improved from 25th in the NFL last year to eighth this season. (Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Thanks in part to the performance of Muhammad Wilkerson (left), a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, the Jets D has improved from 25th in the NFL last year to eighth this season. (Rich Kane/Icon SMI)

Smith, he said, is not a player the Jets will try to hide in the second half of the season. “He is a growing player, and we like him a lot. This is a tough position to play in the NFL. He’s learning, and he’ll continue to get better.”

In the final seven weeks, the Jets play one team with a winning record (Carolina in Charlotte in Week 15), so that’s good. They’re finished with New England, so that’s good. They’ll play Miami twice in the final five games, so that probably will be good. If Ryan doesn’t look out, he’s going to save his job for 2014 and beyond before Thanksgiving.

Owner Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik will consider Ryan’s fate after the season. I asked Ryan if he thought he’s earned a contract extension.

“Oh,” he said with disdain, “I don’t worry about that. Honest to God, I don’t. There’s not one day that it enters my mind. I mean: I haven’t spent one minute thinking about it. Things will work out. When you work hard and take care of your job, things usually do work out.”

I told him I thought his team has responded to him consistently this year, and the Jets had played well enough for him to get a new deal.

“Thanks,” he said. “But you know me. That’s not my focus. Honestly.”

Now let’s head over to Page 2 for your email…

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38 comments
j7apple
j7apple

Pete, for what its  worth when you said about your Dog Bailey referring that she could have been Darrell Green's dog

"Bailey! I am sorry! You could have been a Hall of Famer’s dog!"

I think she was one. 

mixworxm
mixworxm

Peter:

Bailey reader response was heartfelt and predictable. Have always felt that our dogs do a lot more for us than we could ever do for them. We have a 12 year old Pug whose hind end and left front leg are beginning to fail. Cannot bear to think about putting down a dog in obvious pain but still with bright eyes, tail wag and excitement at consuming a last treat. A blurred line between life and death.

Outside the box
Outside the box

This article is really not dealing with the reality of the Jets record. The won two football games by questionable ref calls on the LAST play of the game that gave them field goals to win. Tampa had them stopped cold on their own 43 with 7 seconds left, only time for a hail mary. Linebacker hits Geno about 6 inches out of bounds and the Jets get in field goal range and kicker makes it.

Patriots have Jets stopped and they miss field goal to win, then ref comes in with "pushing from behind" flag, never before thrown in an NFL game, let alone on the last play of the game. 15 penalty yards later, kicker wins game for Jets.

Jets are a 3-6 team, disguised as a 5-4 team. They caught NO in a trap game, and other than that, have not beaten a team that is even close to .500.

Hektor
Hektor

I come to Sports Illustrated to read about football. Dogs and veterans I know are popular things and I don't mean to insult their respective supporters, but really, the more fluff that gets added to this column (coffee, beer, marriots, dogs, vets, etc) while you actively ignore things like CTE ("what can I add?" ... really you're a sportswriter and you have no thoughts about CTE and Tony Dorsett? But you have SOMETHING TO ADD EVERY WEEK ABOUT COFFEE?) ... just really watching this column get dumber all the time at this point.

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

Comment to interns: is there any way you can stop having this page reload just because I would prefer to view it as a single page?  Minor, but I find it annoying.

Baconpizza
Baconpizza

No mention of the injuries to Houston and Atlanta? I thought that one was pretty obvious.

Jon8
Jon8

Doggone the Jets are highly overrated!

carpenter
carpenter

OK: Are you channeling Richie The Hater Incognito? Did you forget to take your meds today?

EP1
EP1

Peter, I didnt get to read yesterday MMQB until today. I was at work sniffling (good thing I was able to blame it on a cold). As a dog owner and someone who has had a dog throughout my entire life... We all feel the pain. Even some times as they get old like one of mine now, you know its only a matter of time. I have thought about what I will say to my dog who literally saved my life during a bad time. 

I always read your articles and I appreciate both the football and the non-football articles

OK
OK

"I thought about the Tony Dorsett and Leonard Marshall admissions, and I thought: What can I add? "

Incorrect, you thought about the Tony Dorsett and Leonard Marshall admissions, and ... considered how you could best avoid the wrath of your master at NFL HQ, Goodell, and thus decided to ignore the story and retain your cushy gigs at SI and NBC.

carpenter
carpenter

To OK: You are not OK, you are a total idiot. Peter King's job is to write about the NFL. That doesn't translate into him being Goodell's lap dog. PK has written a lot of negative copy about the NFL. Overall, I find his writing to be informative, honest and refreshing. You must be a cat lover crazed by toxic spores from you litter box. Do not disrespect Peter's dog.

OK
OK

Re. The Mutt,

Cry to Mark Levin, another manipulator for eyes and ears.

Football. That's what Goodell's paying you for, King. Football spin.

The White Quarterback. The unquestioned greatness of the NFL. Burying your initial coverage of Racist Richie and the PBS Frontline doc on concussions and brain injuries.

If I want screamers who like mutts, I'll listen to Levin have his nightly temper tantrum - three nights a week, 37 nights a year.

Football. Spin for Goodell. Nix the mutt.

carpenter
carpenter

First, I'm truly sorry about your faithful companion. I have two K9 companions, Gordo is half yellow lab and half shar pei. (If anyone wants a great dog with irresistible looks and great disposition this is the one).  Moochoo Poochoo is all yellow lab and a big loveable dog,( hence the name).  I wish people were as easy going and peaceful as my dogs. I will be devastated when they pass as they are loved and cherished. I hope that when Richie Incognito dies he doesn't come back as a dog. That would degrade the species.

Second, I love MMQB and read it every week. This week I most appreciated the comments by Shannon Sharpe. I think his commentary about the Incognito/Martin fiasco was the best of the best. I think he makes sense every time he speaks. My all time favorite was his comment about Jay Cutler as Cutler was being helped off the field after his 'groin" injury. Sharpe: "Hemorrhoids".

How that comment didn't make MMQB, I'll never understand.

jeffchadwick
jeffchadwick

Unrelated to this article, but apparently MMQB found the article written by Klemko on the Bears yesterday so horrific that it's been removed from the internet entirely?  

MoshePesachGeller
MoshePesachGeller

Sorry I didn't get to write earlier. I ws a day late with MMQB. Just thought you might wish to know: In Hebrew, the word for dog is KeLeB (prounounced as a ;v;). The letters  read out as Kulo Lev Barie, meaning Fully A Creating Loving Heart. Seems like Bailkey ws all that and more. Thanks for reaching deeply into my heart and bringing out blessed tears. May you and your wife be comforted knowing how much even in death, Bailey is touching so many in profoundly precious way.

Ray1950
Ray1950

Amy Earley ... Peter didn't get around to saying it so please allow me.  Best of luck to your niece and please send her my sincere thanks for her service to our country.

Wombat
Wombat

So many writers comment opine that Andy Dalton is the bane of all success in Cincinnati. PK is always tough on the boys in stripes but even he seems unable to shed any light on the real problem that is keeping the Bengals from succeeding... coaching. Never have I seen so many coaching mistakes costing a team games. Whether it is going for it on 4th an 1 on their own 48 or not going for a 50 yard game winning field goal in OT two weeks in a row or horrible clock management or the inability to motivate a team that has more penalty yardage in a half than offense or corners that continually forget to play the ball thus getting 48 yard interference calls to having multiple "too many players on the field" penalties to running the SAME %$&&^ play up the middle 15 times and gaining 3 yards total to not changing the O-Line scheme when their QB cannot handle pressure... the list goes on and on... it may be time to end the Lewis era in Cinci...

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

@Outside the box  still harping about 2 plays?  yeah and you know what- they also should have beaten NE earlier - you can say luck this and that but you know how many plays it takes to win a football game? alot more than 1...  and to imply that the jets get any sort of luck- is ridiculous.  anyone that watches the jets know that they NEVER get the benefit of the calls...  they have a top 5 defense- and despite being penalized the MOST in the league - (fairly certain) 2 calls and they are lucky all of a sudden.  ha...  whatever NE boy.  eat it.     

TwoGee
TwoGee

The Jets completely outplayed the Patriots in that game. Take a look at the box score. If you're going to discredit that win, then you should do the reverse for their earlier loss to NE. That game had a TD reversed against the Jets where although the ball came loose, no camera angle ever showed the ball touch the ground. They also reversed a fumble call against the patriots that appeared to be called correctly initially. They lost that game by a FG.

Mike26
Mike26

@Hektor My gawd, read his archives.  CTE is all over the place!

Sdwalt
Sdwalt

@Hektor But you continue to read and comment. PK has been writing about coffee and beer and lots of other stuff for years, should he change because you don't like it?.


jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

@Jon8 they are ranked middle of the league which is about right... they are 5-4 and won against a few very good teams so- just relax- take a deep breathe... its ok.  they still prob wont make the playoffs.  

pickle
pickle

@Jon8 How exactly are they overrated? They are currently in playoff contention, have a top 10 defense and have beaten 2 top 10 teams. Nobody is saying they are going to win the superbowl. But you can't deny they are vastly exceeding the expectations everyone had for them at the beginning of the season. In Peter's fine fifteen rankings he puts another 5-4 team with a good defense, Arizona, several spots ahead of the Jets(who are at 15th I believe). I think too many NFL fans overreact to all the negative stories about the Jets that came out the past few years and have trouble seeing beyond the buttfumble and other similar things.

eddie767
eddie767

@OK For someone who was tired of these stories,why get mad when one isn't written? On PKs dog section,it still involved football so what's your problem with it? Matterof fact why do you read his articles for anyway? He doesn't need you,but you seem to need him.

PS get that anger checked,hate to have something happen to you.

OK
OK

@carpenter  

I disrespect pundits who use Mutt Tales to boost hits to their websites and/or talk radio shows. Ergo, I disrespect King and that psychotic screamer on WABC in New York. That you choose to be so easily and willfully manipulated reflects only your blatant inability to think for yourself. Sad, pathetic, and quite true.

As per King, his job is to serve his NFL Master, Goodell. That means:

1. Trumpet the White Quarterback at every turn;

2. Bury the PBS Frontline story on concussions and head injuries in the NFL, especially the widely reported fact that ESPN ran from its deal with PBS ... only after a meeting with King's NFL Master, Goodell, and his band of legal thugs.

3. Bury the story on Racist Richie last week, and claim Skinhead Glazer is anything other than a self-promoter who'd kill a dozen school children to make a buck.

You want to buy this tripe, fine. I don't. And if you dislike my right to exercise my views under the First Amendment, move to Dixie and start up your own Racist Richie Retreat.

EP1
EP1

@OK typical troll. You would fit in well in the Dolphins locker room.

OK
OK

@jeffchadwick  

Chad,

Master Goodell sent an order to his Spin Doctor, King, and MMQB killed the story.

jb22
jb22

@Wombat the 50 yd field goal they didn't go for against Baltimore wasn't game winning.  It was the first possession of OT, so baltimore would still have gotten the ball with a chance to tie/win the game.  But other than that, i don't disagree really.

OK
OK

@EP1 = Fool, Easily Led

carpenter
carpenter

@OK @carpenter BTW, your suggestion that Glazer would "kill a dozen school children to make a buck" is both sickening and repulsive. Thank you for making a moronic statement that totally discredits any opinion you have previously stated or will ever state again. And IF I did move to Dixie, would you be my neighbor?

carpenter
carpenter

@OK @carpenter Perhaps you have your 20 backwards. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to post as KO? Obviously you have been knocked out on numerous occasions and now suffer from serious brain damage. Did you ever know that the NFL is totally meaningless and only there for entertainment purposes? That being said, Peter King is highly entertaining to a high percentage of football fans. At least he's not a low life hate monger like you. When you die and go to h**l, I hope you and R. Incognito have to share a room.

sterculius65
sterculius65

Looks like OK is having a heavy flow day, poor girl.

OK
OK

@EP1

And you would gladly shine Racist Richie's cleats and recharge the cellphone on which he sent racist verbal and text messages to a teammate. Not an opponent. Not his Mama. A teammate.

EP1
EP1

@OK yayyyy he is now both moral, editorial and grammar police!!! good job ok

OK
OK

@EP1  

And you're an individual who is unable to correctly spell "you're" vs. "your". Way to show your third-grade education.

EP1
EP1

@ok right... your an individual with all the answers. way to be the leader of nobody

EP1
EP1

makes complete sense since your here trolling. Your a punk. ill be off the site in a few minutes... you will still be in your mama's basement commenting wondering why you have no friends

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