The Jets have been victim to inconsistent quarterback play throughout all of Rex Ryan’s tenure with the team. Mark Sanchez had four years to lock down the job and failed to do so, leading the team to select Geno Smith in the second round of this years NFL draft. Smith, much like many rookie quarterbacks, has had highs and lows all season. It is quite clear he has an NFL caliber arm and above average mobility to make plays, but his decision making and ball security issues have haunted him. While those are the obvious aspects, he has also been put in an erratic environment.
His top three wide receivers (Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, and Stephen Hill) have been on and off the field all season. His starting tight end (Kellen Winslow) was suspended four games in the middle of the season for PED use. With Holmes, Kerley, and Winslow back at nearly full health, he displayed a positive performance against a weak team in the Oakland Raiders. Lets break down a play showing Geno’s top flight arm when given time to set his feet:
Bilal Powell (yellow circle) was motioned out wide. This design forces an outside linebacker in isolated coverage, a seemingly winnable matchup. Santonio Holmes (red circle) is in the slot matched up against fourth year corner Phillip Adams (blue square). Geno recognizes the Raiders are bringing a five man rush and that he’ll need to deliver the ball quickly.
2) The Drop-Back:
Powell’s man is playing two yards off, right where he wants him. He needs to keep the corner of the end zone clear for Holmes. The line holds up well against the five man rush, giving Geno Smith time to drop back and plant his feet. Holmes quickly breaks into his route and Phillips knows he is left in one on one coverage.
3) The Release:
Geno releases the ball right before Holmes gains a large step on Phillips, a perfectly timed release. Powell has run a drag, officially making his man a non-factor in the play.
4) The Drop:
Surprisingly, Santonio does not reel in the catch as the ball hits him right where it needs to be. Holmes has made a killing off this route (Jets vs. Patriots in playoffs 2010 and Jets vs. Texans 2010 game winner) but struggled to hang on here. Although it was dropped, this is perfect execution by the entire offense. The line held up, Geno Smith delivers a beautiful throw, Bilal Powell executes his route, and Santonio Holmes burned his man. These kind of plays show progress, not regression, a very positive sign for Geno Smith.
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