TOJ – Year In Review (New York Jets Quarterback Geno Smith)

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“Well, I want to come in with the right mentality, I want to come in and work and I’m going to make sure I put my best foot forward. I’m going to be dedicated and try and come in and be a leader, try and help my team get better and win games.”- New York Jets Quarterback Geno Smith after the Jets drafted him in the second round.

I think it’s safe to say that Geno’s rookie season was filled with highs and lows. I do believe he showed enough in 2013 to warrant being part of the New York Jets QB situation heading into the 2014 season. Let’s do a quick review of Geno’s rookie year, broken into quarters.

First Quarter
Opponents: Vs Tampa Bay (W), at New England (L), Vs Buffalo (W), at Tennessee (L)
First Quarter Overall Statistics:
78-136, 57% completion percentage, 1,090 yards, 4 TDs, 8 INTs, 69.3 QBR, 16 carries, 85 yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 1 TD, 3 fumbles, 11 total turnovers, 14 Sacks (1 every 9.7 drop backs)
Analysis: Geno completed 59% of his passes, 3 TDs, and 3 INTs at home, in comparison to a 55% completion percentage, 1 TD, and 5 INTs on the road. Geno’s best statistical game of the first quarter (Week 3 vs Buffalo) coincided with the Jets first 100 yard rushing game of the season (Bilal Powell’s season high 149 yards), as well as the only game of the first quarter that Geno wasn’t sacked. Geno only averaged 4 carries a game through the first quarter, despite a 5.3 yards per carry average.

Second Quarter
Opponents: @ Atlanta (W), Vs Pittsburgh (L), Vs New England (W), @ Cincinatti (L)
Second Quarter Overall Statistics:
72-117, 61% completion percentage, 792 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs, 80.07 QBR, 14 carries, 69 yards, 4.9 yards per carry, 1 TD, 3 fumbles, 4 total turnovers, 16 Sacks (1 sack every 7.3 drop backs).
Analysis: Geno’s completion percentage went up but his yardage went down, a clear sign that Geno reduced the amount of deep throws he attempted. His interceptions were cut in half, evidence that he was making better decisions after the first four games. Geno’s turnovers decreased from 11 to 4, which was another sign that Geno was being much more careful with the football. The best game for Geno in the second quarter was against Atlanta, on the road on Monday Night Football against a (at the time) Super Bowl contender. The Jets also cut his pass attempts by 19 and began running the ball more as Chris Ivory became healthy and Mike Goodson returned, albeit for only two games.

Third Quarter
Opponents: vs New Orleans (W), @ Buffalo (L), @ Baltimore (L), vs Miami (L)
Third Quarter Overall Statistics
29-74, 39% completion percentage, 374 yards, 0 TDs, 6 INTs, 25.7 QBR, 11 carries, 26 yards, 2.3 yards per carry, 1 TD, 2 fumbles, 7 total turnovers, 10 sacks (one every 7.4 drop backs)
Analysis: The worst part of Geno Smith’s season, and the stretch that ended the New York Jets playoff hopes, happened in the third quarter. The Jets were 4-4 and Geno clearly improved from the first quarter to the second. However, his pass attempts dropped from an average of 29 per game in the second quarter to 18 per game in the third as Geno became much more of a game manager. This actually seems to have started after the first quarter, probably because of all of the turnovers, because Geno’s pass attempts averaged in the first quarter were 34 a game. Geno was benched against Miami, but that was just the low point of this quarter that began against Buffalo. After the bye, Geno only completed 8 passes, was intercepted 3 times, and was sacked 4 times against the Bills. That began a horrible stretch of play by the Jets quarterback. The Jets ran for 100+ yards in 3 out of these four games, which makes Geno’s struggles even more puzzling since he performed well during the first two quarters when the Jets ran for 100+. Geno’s decline in play directly correlates to the loss of Jeremy Kerley, the Jets best WR the last two seasons.

Fourth Quarter
Opponents: Vs Oakland (W), @ Carolina (L), vs Cleveland (W), @ Miami (W)
Fourth Quarter Overall Statistics
68-116, 58% completion percentage, 790 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 83.2 QBR, 31 carries, 217 yards, 7 yards per carry, 3 TDs, 0 fumbles, 2 total turnovers, 5 sacks (1 sack every 23.2 drop backs)
Analysis: Geno followed up the worst part of his season with arguably the best part of his season. Geno was careful with the ball, made sure to not make many mistakes, and the Jets offensive line (much maligned for the entire season) made sure he was only sacked once every 23 drop backs. Geno also, used his legs more as his 31 carries were more than what he had in any of the other three quarters. His 3 rushing TDs were equal to what he had during the first 12 games. His improved play directly correlated with the return of Jeremy Kerley, as well as 3 of Chris Ivory’s better games this season. Geno didn’t take as many shots downfield during the 4th quarter, but that could be because the Jets didn’t have anyone that could stretch the field. That’s something John Idzik will have to address.

2014 Outlook
If you take Geno’s best quarter and project it over an entire season, this is what you get:
272-464, 58% completion, 3,160 yards, 11.6 yards per completion, 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 124 carries, 868 yards, 7.0 yards per carry, 12 rushing TDs, 4028 total yards, 28 Total TDs, 8 total turnovers, 20 sacks

This is a baseline for Geno, based off of how he played during the last quarter of the season. If the New York Jets can upgrade the skill positions around him (namely at WR and TE), Geno can surpass these statistics. The key, based off this analysis, is Jeremy Kerley and Chris Ivory. Kerley’s fractured elbow, and him missing 3 games, led to Geno’s declining play. A healthy Jeremy Kerley, with improved weapons on the outside, will help Geno. Chris Ivory is the reason you put eight in the box against the Jets. If he turns his best games into an entire year, given he’s healthy, then it allows for Geno to find his improved weapons on the outside. Feel good about Geno Jets fans. We may have ourselves a QB.

16 thoughts on “TOJ – Year In Review (New York Jets Quarterback Geno Smith)

  1. It should be mentioned that the o-line gave geno less than two seconds to get through his reads in the third quarter…

  2. It would be interesting to know the average time Geno held the ball during the course of the year. It seems like he was quicker in deciding what to do with it towards the end of the year. Perhaps that affected the amount of sacks, most of which in the last quarter were in one game against Carolina.

    We also need to find the reason for the dropoff in his effectiveness running the football during that third quarter. His line’s numbers were almost the same as in the second quarter, and Ivory emerged in the third quarter, but Geno’s numbers took a dive only to recover and soar to hitherto unknown heights in the last four games. Since his average yards per rush does not seem to improve with an improved rushing game, maybe Geno needs to pass in order to run. From his passing statistics, it seems obvious Geno needs sure-handed receivers to keep up his completion percentage and fast receivers to boost his YPC, so maybe he needs some element of the passing game to pull off big runs.

  3. Kash

    “From his passing statistics, it seems obvious Geno needs sure-handed receivers to keep up his completion percentage and fast receivers to boost his YPC, so maybe he needs some element of the passing game to pull off big runs.”

    What QB wouldn’t need either of these?

    In the NYJ wins Geno took care of the ball. In their losses, he didn’t. Maybe, and this is conjecture, when they were 5-4, and coming back from the bye week, he felt the pressure of trying to make the playoffs and forced things? Or, maybe it was just an adjustment period that many rookies go through. Either way, his solid play, in December combined with the arm talent he displayed early, should have NYJ fans excited about him getting some ‘sure handed, fast guys’.

  4. @Lidman

    Yes, QBs need someone to catch the ball.

    But some QBs play to the strengths of their receivers, some make their receivers better, some need their receivers to bail them out. Some QBs exploit mismatches. Others need their men to win their one-on-ones. Some QBs are molded by their system, so some statistics stay constant, as the coaches continue calling the same types of plays regardless of their personnel. Others play in a system that is fit to the personnel on the field. Some specialize in certain aspects of their game and others are more of a jack-of-all-trades.

    There are many different QBs and not everyone has the same relationship with their receivers. Just to provide an example, Eli likes to throw the ball deep; his YPC probably would not have probably dropped much even after the loss of Gates and Hill, as he still would have tried more deep throws. On the other hand, someone like Bradford would have stuck with high percentage throws and exploited short range weaknesses in the defense at the cost of big plays.

  5. Kash..I think your examples have more to do with the system the offensive coordinator installs, than it does the QB.

    Gilbride, 62, a disciple of the ‘Run and Shoot’, believes you should threaten the end zone on nearly every play, which leads to deeper routes.

    Schottenheimer is a West Coast disciple where misdirection and multiple formations are used to try and confuse the defense. His offense is predicated on timing and YAC.
    I think if you put Eli, or Bradford, in a WC scheme he’d have developed differently.

    I look at things more simply. You’re either capable of playing the position, or your not. Good players certainly have strengths and weaknesses, and that is up to the coaches to determine and accentuate. However, I believe a good QB can adapt to any system you put him in, and more adapts to the talent around him.

    When I look at Geno, there isn’t much, physically, he can’t do. His success, IMO, will depend on his commitment to preparation and his ability to control his emotions/adrenaline during the game. The NFL history books are littered with ex QBs who had all the physical skills, but either lacked the dedication to their craft (JaMarcus Russell anyone) or mental capacity (Browning Nagle..ouch) needed to succeed.

    Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are perfect examples of mediocre, by NFL standards, athletes who excel because of their dedication to their craft, and their ability to slow down when everyone else is speeding up.

  6. “Schottenheimer is a West Coast disciple where misdirection and multiple formations are used to try and confuse the defense. His offense is predicated on timing and YAC.
    I think if you put Eli, or Bradford, in a WC scheme he’d have developed differently. ”

    I meant to say if you put Eli in the WC, or Bradford in the Gilbride offense, they would have developed differently.

  7. Lidman -

    Has Geno shown you he can make a fast decision and throw quickly? Not me.

    Has Geno shown an instinct to step up into the pocket to buy a bit of time while looking downfield?

    Has he learned to get out of bounds or slide when running with ball?

    I agree Geno has a strong arm; let’s see if he is a QB.

  8. i think geno has been rather reckless running over the last few games. it’s one thing to take a hit when you’re trying to get those extra couple yards for a clutch third-down conversion but if he continues to try to hurdle defensive players and carry the ball like a running back or tight end, meaning: take a hit on every run, i think we’re gonna need a really good back up plan.

  9. Mark,

    I think there are plenty of examples, this year showing Geno ‘can make a fast decision and throw quickly’. I would point to the final drive v Atlanta, and the 2 slants he threw to Stephen Hill, or the 2 TD passes he threw to David Nelson, in the Cleveland game.

    I think this stepping up in the pocket is certainly he needs to improve and that has to do with trusting the offensive line,being able to progress through his reads/options, and trusting in his WR/TE to get open. I also think while we want Geno to be able to do this, one of his biggest attributes is breaking outside the pocket and having the ability to make plays downfield, when things break down. If you have the ability to run for yardage, move outside the pocket to extend plays and avoid the rush then I don’t want you to just sit in the pocket. Brady/Manning do it, because they have to. Luck, Roethlisber and Cam move because they can. I’d hope Geno would find a balance which took advanatage of all of his physcial skills.

    He got out of bounds against TB, and drew a penalty. He scrambled and got out of bound against Atlanta, and the NYJ won that game.He got out of bounds against Cleveland and drew a penalty. I’m sure you could list examples of him not doing so. I think it’s very easy for fans, watching, to ridicule athletes for not sliding or getting OOB. What we don’t get is how their adrenaline/competitive nature sometimes takes over-how could we, we watch and they play. With time, yes, you hope your QB can slow down his thought process and not only make the correct play, but the play which limits the risk to both the team and himself.

    He’s a rookie and the team went 8-8, without much offensive talent. I don’t know how you can’t be encouraged by it. In the games where he simply didn’t make big mistakes they won. So, we know he’s capable of that. The next step, for him, is being consistent and not forcing things, and putting his defense in tough spots.

    I was born in 1967. I was too young to remember the glory dadys of Namath. Sure, I’d love for our NYJ to have our Montana, Elway, Marino, Manning, Brady or Luck. Unfortunately, luck hasn’t been on our side when the majority of these guys have come out. However, Flacco, Eli and even Big Ben are examples of QBs who’ve lead teams to championships. Flacco and Eli still make mistakes like Geno does. Ben’s unorthodox style, often kills drives and leads to turnovers too. I don’t know if Geno is the same as these guys. I just believe he will get better than he was this year, so I’m excited about next year. I think you should be too.

  10. Everyone talks about the “speed” of the pro game for rookies, that you want to see it slow down for them over the course of the first year or two. Watching QBs walk in and dominate right off the bat (Luck, RGIII, Wilson, etc) recalibrated my expectations a little, but really, that was a fluke. If we drafted Geno five years ago instead of the Sanchize, would I be more supportive? Believe me, he lost us games, no question. He looked as lost as a Grade Schooler out there on too many plays (even in this last quarter of the season). I’d like to say it slowed down, but I can’t say for sure. My faith is not strong. But the options seem limited.

    Idz has quite the decision in front of him. Draft another QB high? Wait for the 2-4th Rounds for another QB? Play it safe with a backup veteran F/A?

    My vote? Let’s see what two years under the same OC and system can do for Geno, and get the veteran F/A.

  11. BTW, if you’re Rex, aren’t you going crazy? He’s basically saddled himself with not one but two young, turnover prone QBs. His whole career – now that next year is most definitely playoffs or bust for him – is riding on the shoulders of Geno. As a defensive guy, he must be throwing up in his mouth.

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  15. He makes $3.5mm a year, and it appears got a 1yr extension. So, in the end, he will make a guaranteed $24.5mm. If next year, doesn’t work out, but isn’t a total disaster, at worst he’d get a lucrative DC job, if not another HC job. On top of that, he’s all but assured a shot to make it on TV, if he’d rather sit out a year, make $3.5mm, and have no stress.

    Sign me up….

  16. If you watch the games, the reason Geno’s play in the 4th qtr of the season changed had to do with the plays called. The jets offense was so predictable in the begining of the season it was a joke, almost anytime geno snapped the ball from under center it was a run, and all his pass plays were from “gun” formations (really shotgun or pistol, but not under center). Took jets forever to figure out that defenses figured this out and put 8 in the box against runs, and with the jets week wr’s they press/man cover with a blitz off the left edge mostly (blind side). That defense left Geno with no time to get rid of the ball and no one to throw to, which caused him to force throws. The last qtr of the season, if you notice all Geno’s pass plays were bootlegs to the right, giving him an option to pass or run. That along with the progression of geno’s and nelsons working to get on the same page is what made the difference. They realized that with out better wr’s or oline geno could not sit in the pocket on pass plays. I’m just sad it took them so long to figure that out

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