Rex Ryan has remained steadfast in his commitment to Geno Smith, but even Ryan, apparently, has his limits.
Ten days removed from an encouraging performance in a loss to New England, Smith posted one of the worst quarters from a quarterback in recent NFL history: 2-of-8 for five yards with three interceptions. That's when Ryan pulled the plug. On the Jets' next possession, Vick promptly led a touchdown drive, though his day turned sour soon after -- by the end of the third quarter, he had three turnovers of his own (two fumbles, one INT) and actually had put the ball on the ground four times in all.
The miserable afternoon served as a painful reminder of how unhinged New York's QB situation has become. And it came just a few days after Ryan claimed that Smith was on the verge of a legitimate breakthrough.
"I just think he’s starting to see it," said Ryan of Smith earlier this week. "Whether the improvements are noticed by everybody or not, I’ve noticed the improvements that he’s making.
"Again, I think the arrow is going up."
There was finally some reason for optimism following a Week 7 in which Smith threw for 226 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots -- a smart, solid showing on the road against the AFC East leaders. It didn't take him long to revert to old form Sunday, forcing Ryan to turn things over to Vick. The veteran backup was better but not by much, and he had the same turnover issues.
Who knows what happens from here. Vick might be the semi-permanent choice moving forward. When asked who will start in Week 9, Ryan said he had "no idea."
The Jets' trade for WR Percy Harvin seemed to indicate that Ryan and GM John Idzik hoped to make something of this season yet. Given that both guys are firmly planted on the hot seat, the relatively small gamble on Harvin made sense, but Smith's meltdown again summed up just how far this team is from being competitive.
The 34-year-old Vick, who received a standing ovation from the home crowd when he entered Sunday's game, hardly appears to be much of a fix. Remember, we're just three weeks removed from Vick admitting he was not ready to play when called upon to replace Smith at San Diego.
"I think I took the scout team for granted," Vick said. "I learned my lesson: Always be ready, always be prepared."
It was understandable to a point that Ryan wanted to stick with Smith. Vick's ceiling is very much capped these days, while Smith at least carries the promise of youth.
The positive outings like the one Smith turned in last Thursday have been few and far between, however. He now has thrown 10 interceptions to seven touchdowns this season, after finishing last year with a 12-to-21 touchdown-to-interception differential. Any other statistical improvements have been minimal, despite the Jets acquiring Eric Decker and drafting TE Jace Amaro this past offseason.
There may be no turning back now for the Jets. With those potential coaching/GM changes looming, odds are the quarterback position was going to be subject to review anyway.
Both Smith and Vick might have run out of chances to prove his worth.