Rex Ryan sees a dead offense.
Something funny must have been pumped into the water the Jets drank at halftime of what would become a Week 2 loss at Lambeau Field. The Jets were up 21-16 on the Packers behind a tidy, efficient offense. But the unit went cold after halftime, and has been ever since.
So perhaps it isn’t a surprise that for a third straight day, the Jets head coach had to defend starting quarterback Geno Smith this week.
“Did I expect him to be here? No, I expected him to be [more] proficient on offense than we have been the past couple of games,” Ryan said. “I see things that maybe not everybody sees. I see where on his day off he’s got seven receivers in here with him watching tape. I believe that this young man will be fine.”
Smith currently has the No. 32 passer rating in the NFL.
Ryan points his fingers at other factors, including a ground game that is sixth in the league and a defense he says needs to improve.
There is a rising tide among fans for the Jets to roll out Michael Vick to replace Smith. Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, came into the Jets’ 31-0 Sunday loss at the Chargers after halftime. He completed just one of his first 10 passes before he settled down to complete seven of the next nine attempts for 40 yards.
It was his first action since preseason and by the end of the game, he was looking better.
Smith’s struggles on the field have been compounded by recent breakdowns away from the huddle. Last Sunday, he cursed out fans following a home loss to the Lions. He bristled in an exchange with a reporter during the week, and Smith’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week continued on Saturday when he was late for a meeting at the team hotel in San Diego, something Ryan said has been addressed.
Even though Vick might offer more immediate hope, the Jets are squarely behind Smith.
“I like both our quarterbacks but again I believe Geno will find a way to get it done,” Ryan said. “I’m confident with Geno.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.