TOJ Roundtable – Geno Smith Season Ending Expectations Edition

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The Turn On The Jets Roundtable is back to debate issues surrounding the New York Jets. Make sure to give all of the writers a follow on Twitter and if there is a question you want to see us debate, leave it in the comment section!

What are your expectations for Geno Smith’s final two starts of the season?

Joe CaporosoI don’t have much expectations for Geno or the Jets passing game in these final two weeks. They are facing two quality defenses and the Jets haven’t been able to establish any type of consistency through the air. My hope is that the Jets will let Smith operate a standard NFL offense, instead of attempting to hide to him. At this point, let him sling the football around. An optimist will say that Smith has made progress over the last two games after a dreadful post-bye three game stretch and that he will finish trending upward. A pessimist probably sees a few more pick sixes on the way and no modicum of improvement to his average production. The actual result will probably land somewhere in the middle.

Cole Patterson - The truth is that Geno will face ninth and sixteenth ranked passing defenses two weeks in a row. While this may not seem necessarily daunting, remember, Smith is the lowest rated passer in the NFL as of now. That’s out of thirty five. That’s below the likes Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder. That being said, Smith proved effective against the fifth rated pass defense in the NFL last sunday against Carolina.

I expect Smith to struggle in the final two games but show some minor progress. He has some upward momentum after decent showings against the Raiders and Panthers. I’m going with the trend here. I imagine he will have a stat-line over the next two weeks in the ball park of: 270 yds passing, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 80 rushing yards.

While not spectacular, these numbers could do enough to get the job done the next two weeks. The only concern is that, to this point, Smith has not provided definitive proof of his viability as a franchise quarterback. He has had up games and down games and failed to be consistent. Perhaps he will show us something special these next two weeks. Perhaps not.

Dalbin Osorio - Geno’s going against two of the better defenses in the NFL, including one that he was benched against a few weeks ago. Geno has a chance to end his rookie season with four straight good games; considering the situation this past Sunday, on the road against a Super Bowl contender Geno played well. If we look back on Geno’s rookie season and say he played well in 8 games, and had signature wins against Atlanta on the road, New England, New Orleans, an improved Cleveland team, and Miami while going 3-3 against the AFC East, i’d say the season will be considered a building block. He’s looked much better the last two weeks in comparison to the three weeks before.

I expect Geno to continue his improved play in the last two games. Over the last two games, he has completed 58% of his passes for 386 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. He has returned to using his legs more as well, which has been a positive development. He’s averaging 8.5 yards per carry over the last two games. This has opened up the offense so much more, and has allowed him to pick up firsts with his legs and evade the pass rush. That should continue as well. It’s going to be tough sledding, but I expect him to continue playing well.

Frank Giasone Geno Smith’s performances have been up and down all season and personally, I don’t expect that to change in the next few weeks. So while it’s not likely to see Geno magically morph into Peyton Manning in these final two meaningless games, there are a few things that I hope to see him improve on:

  • Stop Staring Down Receivers: It’s no secret that Geno has a tendency to stare down his first read. It’s an issue for lots of rookie quarterbacks, but it’s something that I hoped we’d see less of at this point in the season. Geno’s clearly not comfortable in the pocket –an understandable issue considering the offenses struggles to protect the quarterback at times this season– but it needs to change if there’s hope for the rookie to develop into a legitimate NFL QB.
  • Pre-Snap Awareness: Another issue consistent with rookie quarterback’s in this league is pre-snap awareness. The ability to recognize what the defense is showing at the line of scrimmage has been lacking and has led to far too many QB pressures and sacks this season. Geno needs to improve on his pre-snap recognition to limit the amount of unnecessary hits in the pocket.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Run: He’s shown confidence in his legs late in the season, and he needs to continue that trend. While he’s not your prototypical “running quarterback”, Geno is very athletic at the position. The threat of the QB taking off from the pocket is something that can cause a defense matchup issues, and can add another dimension to an offensive desperate for playmakers.

Mike O’Connor – I wouldn’t expect much from Geno Smith in his last two starts of the season.  Despite the Jets being able to let him loose with playoffs out of the question, it’s not like he’s getting any of his weapons back. In fact, Santonio Holmes will likely only see less snaps with the injury and seemingly bad attitude that keeps on hindering his game. David Nelson, Greg Salas, and Jeremy Kerley won’t be able to give him any new leeway, unfortunately. I would like to say that we could see something promising from Smith to close out the season, but what evidence has been there as of late to be able to confidently call that?

Connor Rogers - It won’t be an easy finish for Geno Smith and the Jets as both Cleveland and Miami have very respectable defenses. On the other hand, Smith handled Carolina’s defense quite well on Sunday. He threw an ugly pick six, but was in control when given pass protection the rest of the game. The receivers had a few brutal drops (Santonio Holmes) too.

I think the Jets will attempt to develop the run game with Ivory, who has really turned it on in the second half of the season. This will open up the passing game more for Smith, who needs to target other players besides Holmes, who will not be on the team next season. He’s had solid chemistry with Jeremy Kerley and Kellen Winslow this season, which is where he should continue to feed the ball. It would be nice to see David Nelson and Hakim Saalim see a majority of the receiving reps with Kerley, giving Idzik a better assessment on both plays for next season. Nelson has done enough to warrant at least a training camp invite next season, while Saalim’s speed brings a ton of potential on special teams and on vertical routes.

If Geno can somehow avoid a pick six in the upcoming games, it would be progress considering the caliber of the defenses he will face. He needs to take off as soon as the pocket collapses (which has been often). Use these two games as momentum gainers for the offseason, as he will at least be competing for the starting job in training camp (hopefully with actual weapons to work with). It has been severely down played throughout the week, but Smith showed progression against Carolina. He can immensely help his cause as the starting quarterback with a very respectable finish. The Jets will bring competition in no matter what he does, but the rookie will be back next year with a full season under his belt, which he hopefully has learned from.

TJ Rosenthal – I have no expectations for Geno Smith these final two games. There is nothing he can or will do that make me feel any better or worse about  him as the answer long term.

Geno won’t throw for 300 yards or play mistake free football. He will perform at best at a slightly higher efficiency and confidence level. This is not a knock on Smith. His options are limited downfield, and his backfield is solid but not overly threatening.

If the Jets want to keep Geno in the picture they better try and grab a Josh McCown or Kirk Cousins somehow. Then add some weapons to help the QBs.

I’m furious that this organization felt it was ok to just use a season as a test for one 16 game second round QB. Had they been smarter they could have competed for a shot at a playoff run in a down year for the AFC.

Smith was not a high enough valued commodity coming in to warrant such a long look. This team deserved a healthy veteran (David Garrard. Ridiculous.) giving things a go until the season was lost . That player could have even been Mark Sanchez for as long as he could be effective but hey, at least he helped win the Snoopy Bowl. Keep me posted when that ring ceremony takes place, I want to be there for it.

  • Anthony

    I’m not sure that there was an available QB in FA that could have made this team any better. This offense is an absolute trash bin of talent. Tone has played himself out of the league this year. David Nelson was a sneaky fantasy PPR guy 3 years ago, and despite his size, and solid hands, would never be confused with a player worthy of top 3 spot on a solid offense.

    We went into this season with high expectations for Clyde Gates!!!

    Ivory missed a ton of time, goodson played like 15 snaps and Bilal is who we thought he is.

    The LG spot was a siv, the RG spot was at times a turnstile-turned-holding call. Kellen was out “big” free agent offensive addition.

    We have no weapons, and there is not a QB in the FA ranks that would have made it any better.

  • KAsh

    A result somewhere in the middle? So Geno will trend upward in throwing pick sixes?

    In all seriousness, the 2013 book on Geno has pretty much been written. Last week’s competent performance – the interception returned for a touchdown that put the nail in the coffin on this season aside – was a good surprise on a season that has given a lot of doubts about Geno’s future in this league. (Now that I think about it, that was a pretty significant aside, in an otherwise good game.) I would like to see him try to fling the ball around, just to grow through trial and error, and work on correcting his bad habits. Treat the two games like they were practice. Throw the ball as soon as he sets his feet. Don’t stare down receivers. But there is nothing he is capable of to make me think he is a possibility for next year.

  • Mark Phelan

    Geno had fewer interceptions last Sunday but I saw nothing to generate otimism.

  • Lidman

    Just win football games. The Jets are at home this week, where they are 5-2. They are playing a team that is 1-5, on the road, has lost 5 straight and 8 of 9. Over that 9 game period they are giving up 30+pts. It will be 3 days before Christmas for a team that has ZERO to play for, will likely be without their top CB, and probably without their TE. They can’t run the ball, and have 1 tremendous over the top. Win this week, and then worry about next week.

    In the games the NYJ have won, Geno has shown more than enough to warrant some optimism..HE’S A ROOKIE

    TB: strong, accurate throw to Winslow and then presence of mind to move out to move out of the pocket and get to the sidelines-which led to penalty.

    ATL: Played probably his best game of year, in totality, was decisive, and accurate. Game winning drive, on the road, in a dome, was well executed.

    Buffalo: In 1H, after Buff, got within 1, he took team on 2 consecutive scoring drives, to stretch lead to 11. When Kyle Wilson, and defense imploded, penalty-wise, to allow Buff to tie game, he immediately answered with a long TD pass.

    NE: After bad early pick 6, rebounded and made plays with both legs and arms. The NYJ were down 21-10 and while his play wasn’t what won them the game, he made enough plays and made no mistakes after the INT.

    NO: similar to NE, made enough good plays, and more importantly made no mistakes. Remember, Jets were down 14-6 in this game too. So, while we all talk about how offensively challenged this team is (and it is), he was able to come from behind on 2 of the 4 best QBs in the league.

    Oakland: Had over 280 combined running/passing yards and didn’t make the big mistake. He lead the team to a win over a team they should beat (a team like Cleveland).

    In his losses the big mistakes have killed him. It happens to rookie QBs. At this stage, all we, well all I, want out of Geno is to not make the big mistakes, make some first downs, so the D doesn’t get stuck on the field too long, and then make a few plays here and there. If he does that the next 2 weeks, the Jets will win v Cleveland and have a chance to win next week.

    Look at the losses too:

    They were in the 1st NE game and last week v Carolina, but big mistakes cost them. All the blow out losses were simply Geno not valuing the ball, making bad reads, and forcing the ball into coverage. Rookie QBs are prone to do that. So, I disagree with those who say there is ‘nothing he can do in the next 2 weeks…’ Don’t do those things and then we can worry about him progressing to his 2nd, 3rd reads, his pre-snap read, and getting the ball out quicker (so his line doesn’t have to block forever) next year.

  • glegly

    What exactly can happen over the next two games, and how it’ll impact 2014?

    Option A) He lights up CLE and MIA, and finally announces himself ready to be a starting QB. Idz decides against drafting another QB to compete – hard to overcome 14 games (some so so, couple good, more bad) – but definitely signs a F/A backup (McCown, etc).

    Option B) Geno shows the same positive flashes we’ve seen this year, but quickly nixes the warm and fuzzies with a Pick 6 or three. (Basically, Carolina all over again). Idz is tempted to draft a QB high, probably go again in the 2nd-4th rounds, and still goes for the F/A backup. Geno’s in an open competition next year.

    Option C) He does okay, but the negatives far outweigh the positives. Idz definitely drafts another QB, high but prolly not the first. Geno’s in an open competition next year.

    Option D) Geno completely sh&ts the bed, and is possibly even replaced in the last game by Simms, if not even in the second half of Sunday’s game. The reset button is hit hard, and QB is the top priority going into 2014.

    My guess? Somewhere between B and C.

    ** BTW, if you’re a backup veteran QB, aren’t you jumping at the chance to backup the Jets, with a better than decent chance to play a lot here? It’s the inverse of the Tebow situation – he thought he’d get a chance to start, and we (stupidly) sold him on that idea, considering he can’t actually play.

  • glegly

    Continuation on my “BTW,” why the heck is it so hard to find a good veteran backup QB? Here are a few I can think off the top of my head (contracts not withstanding): Ryan Fitz, Matt Moore, Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Henne, Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel, Colt McCoy.

    There’s another name I can add to this list that I shudder to even type: Mark Sanchez!

    Why is it so difficult to get one of these guys? C’mon, we’re stuck with either watching Geno stare down receivers like he’s trying to hit on a hot girl at a bar, or nothing? The years and years of turnover prone QBs is just killing me…

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  • KAsh

    Backup QBs usually know their status and have other interests. Case in point is Matt Moore. Last year, he could have left Miami and been a probable starter on many of the teams that would have tried to sign him. He chose to stay in Miami because they paid him a million or so above what he was likely to get.

    You do not want a career backup. You want a veteran starter or a young guy itching to get a start after sitting behind someone much better.