Day two of training camp is in the books and plenty of praise has been heaped on second year QB Geno Smith for his command of the offense and the confidence he’s shown so far. However, confidence doesn’t win you games. If it did, Tim Tebow would still be a starting QB in the NFL. We thought it would be a good time to take a look at how a handful of other QBs have recently done in their second year and then make some projections for Geno SMith..
On average, second year QBs threw the ball 115 more times than they did in year one. This would indicate a higher level of trust from the coaching staff, which is usually the case. The biggest jump from year one to year two, in terms of passing attempts, was made by Mark Sanchez as he attempted 143 more passes in his second year. The lowest jump was actually made by Russell Wilson, as he only attempted 14 more passes. This is intriguing because the Seahawks last year were built very similarly to how the Jets are built now, with the makings of a power running game being the main focal point of the offense.
Second year QBs saw their completions increase by an average of 67 passes in year two. More experience usually equals more accurate throws and therefore more completions. However, as you’ll see when we get to completion percentages, this isn’t the case at all. Something to note is that the spike in completions directly correlates with the addition of a weapon in the passing game that the QBs didn’t have in year one; the Jets gave Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, the Seahawks gave Russell Wilson, Percy Harvin, the 49ers gave Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, and the Falcons got Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez. If you look at who was acquired, these are all pass catchers with good hands who run very good routes. The biggest leap in completions went to Sanchez, as he completed 82 more passes. The lowest jump came from Ryan, who actually completed 2 passes less in his second year. So, it would seem that the better weapons you’re throwing to the better your chances are of having higher completions.
Second year QBs actually saw a drop in their completion percentage from year one to year two. In a way, you can see why this would happen; they’re entrusted with throwing more passes as head coaches and offensive coordinators begin to loosen the reins a little bit. Only Dalton and Sanchez improved their completion percentages in year two by 4.2% and 1% respectively. On average, the second year QBs that we looked at saw their completion percentage drop by an average of 1%.
These QBs saw an increase of, on average, 3 passing touchdowns from their first year to their second year. Kaepernick had the biggest jump, as he threw 11 more TDs. Wilson threw the same amount of TDs in year two as he did on year one. The big takeaway from this is that, their TD to INT ratio decreased only slightly. During their rookie years, and I’ll expand on this further, these QBs threw a combined 100 TDs and 65 INTs. This gives them a TD:INT ratio of approximately 1.5 to 1. This means that the QBs threw 3 TDs for every two interceptions they threw. It’s not terrible, but it’s absolutely not not franchise QB level. During their second year, they threw 117 combined TDs and 63 interceptions. This bumps the ratio to approximately 1.9 to 1. This means that, approximately for every 4 TDs they’d throw you could bank on 2 interceptions. This is substantially better; in fact, it’s very close to the TD:INT ratio for Tom Brady from last year (2.2:1).
Yards/Yards Per Attempt/ Yards Per Completion:
On average, these QBs averaged 2,858 yards during their first years. They averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and 12.5 yards per completion. In their second years, the yards number went up by almost 500 yards for an average of 3,286. They averaged 6.9 yards per attempt in their second year, which is a full half yard less than what they attempted in their first year. The yards per completion, also, went down during the second year as it decreased to 12 yards per completion, a full half yard down from their first year on average.
I’m a firm believer that a QB needs to be measured by the amount of wins he leads his team to. I know that there are 53 guys responsible for a win, but I’ve seen franchise QBs elevate their teams to wins that they probably had no reason to claim on paper. Every QB increased their win total from their first year to their second, with the exception of Matt Ryan. They increased their team win totals by almost two full wins during their second year.
What Does This Mean For Geno Smith:
If we take all of those averages and apply them to Geno’s rookie year, his stat line for 2014 should be as follows:
314 completions/558 attempts, 56% completion percentage, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 3474 Yards, 11.8 YPC, 6.4 YPA, Jets win 10 games
The Jets have added Eric Decker in free agency, Jalen Saunders and Jace Amaro in the draft, and they’ll have David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley presumably for longer than they had them last year. They’ve also improved their running game (and screen game) with the addition of Chris Johnson. The game should start to slow down for him this year, but you should still expect some hiccups from Geno as well. Here’s my predicted stat line for him this year. Feel free to favorite and come back and ridicule me if I’m wrong.
Geno’s 2014, according to DO:
320 completions/520 attempts, 61% completion percentage, 3,800 Yards, 29 TDs, 14 INTs, 14.1 YPC, 7.7 YPA, 11 wins