There’s been a lot of talk today about how the New York Jets need to bench Quarterback Geno Smith. This comes on the heels of another multiple turnover game. Kristian Dyer wrote a piece last week stating that Geno is not a franchise quarterback. Dyer’s argument was made, in part, because of Geno’s play against the Chicago Bears on Monday night and I’m sure he feels validated in some way due to Geno’s play last week. I’m not here to tell you that he didn’t play poorly. I actually think yesterday was his first very bad game this season, as he looked jittery and hesitant.
I do think he played well enough for the Jets to be 3-1 so far, and that had the playcalling been a little different in the red zone last week they’d at least be 2-2. Yesterday, the interception over the head of Greg Salas was bad. I don’t fault Geno for them fumble (I thought it should’ve been an incomplete pass, per the rule) because he got BLASTED by James Ihedigbo off of a safety blitz. I wouldn’t bench him because he’s flashed enough to still be the starter and I don’t think the backup QB is going to bring anything to the table right now. With that said, I don’t believe that individual statistics are the end all be all; however, I think they can be used to paint a clearer picture than if you didn’t have the stats. I’ve picked 5 different “franchise” QBs, all drafted in different rounds and into different situations and and who started at least 20 games. I’ve broken down their completions, attempts, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, interceptions, multi-interception games, 300+ yard games, and their team’s record. The analysis is at the bottom.
QB A (5-15)
411 completions/716 attempts, 57% completion percentage, 4,924 yards (246.2 per game), 36 TDs, 34 INTs, 13 multi-interception games, 5 300+ yard games
QB B (12-8)
277 completions/511 attempts, 54% completion percentage, 3155 yards (157.7 per game), 20 TDs, 20 INTs, 5 multi-interception games, 0 300+ yard games
QB C (9-10-1)
223 completions/419 attempts, 53% completion percentage, 2903 yards (145.1 per game), 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 1 multi-interception game, 0 300+ yard games
QB D (9-11)
329 completions/579 attempts, 56% completion percentage, 3968 yards (198.4), 16 TDs, 26 INTs, 8 multi-interception games, 2 300+ yard games
311 completions/489 attempts, 63% completion percentage, 3905 yards (195.5 per game), 32 TDs, 13 INTs, 2 multi-interception games, 1 300+ yard game
QB F (13-6-1)
321 completions/541 attempts, 59% completion percentage, 4212 yards (210.6 per game), 26 TDs, 11 INTs, 1 multi-interception game, 0 300+ yard games
Quarterback A has the most completions and attempts out of the quarterbacks listed above. QB A, also, has the most total passing yards, passing yards per game, most touchdowns, most interceptions, and the most 300+ yard games. Lastly, QB A has the fewest wins. QB E has the highest completion percentage and the most wins. QB D has the most multi-interception games and the fewest touchdowns, but has the second most completions. QB C has the lowest completion percentage and the lowest passing yard total. QB F has the second most passing yards, but is tied with QB C and QB B for the fewest 300+ passing yard games with 0.
QB D is Geno Smith. He has more completions through 20 games than every QB on this list except for QB A, who is Peyton Manning. Geno also has more wins than Peyton Manning through his first 20 games. Geno has more yards, more 300+ yard games, and a higher completion percentage than QB B and QB C, and they are Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick. He, also has more yards than QB E, who is Russell Wilson. As stated previously, he has more completions than QB F, and that’s Colin Kaepernick. Geno, also, has more 300 yard games than Wilson and Kaepernick respectively.
Now, you can’t ignore the bad either, as Geno has more multi-interception games than all the QBs except Manning. That’s really what’s been most concerning. Geno can move the team up and down the field but he’s struggling with interceptions in a way that neither Kap or Wilson do.
What Does This Mean?
For starters, it means you don’t bench Geno Smith just yet. One thing to note is he’s had arguably the worst supporting cast of players during the majority of his first 20 games. Peyton had Marvin Harrison and Marshall Faulk, Vick had Jamal Anderson and Terrence Mathis, Sanchez had Thomas Jones and Jerricho Cotchery, Wilson had Marshawn Lynch and Sidney Rice, and Kaepernick had Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree.
Geno Smith, for the majority of his 20 games, had Jeremy Kerley and Chris Ivory. That’s not an excuse but a fact. The kid needs more time before you pull the plug on him because the reality is he’s looked good for approximately 10 out of 16 quarters this year so far. He needs to play better, I think he understands that himself, but the Jets would be doing the franchise no favors by benching Geno for a QB that he’s been better than through a similar sample size to start their careers. Marty needs to put him in a better position to succeed, first by leaning on their best running back and by utilizing their pass catching tight end. The coaching staff also needs to allow Geno to run when he sees opportunities. The Jets are 7-3 when Geno runs for 20+ yards, so this might be a weapon Geno can use going forward because he’s had more success when he uses his feet. What you should take away from all of this is that, like most young QBs, there are ups and downs regardless of where you were drafted and these teams had varying degrees of success in spite of the mistakes the QB made. Rex and Marty would be wise to stick with Geno for the time being.
Peyton Manning: 21/35, 210 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, W
Mark Sanchez: 17/30, 198 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, W
Michael Vick: 21/38, 240 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, L
Colin Kaepernick: 19/29, 203 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, W
Russell Wilson: 15/31, 210 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, L