“He’s going to have a tough time in New York,” an NFC scout said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Right now, he’s coming off as a spoiled, pampered brat.”
The quote above was attributed to an anonymous NFC scout after the New York Jets drafted Geno Smith 39th overall in the 2013 NFL draft. All he’s done since being drafted in the second round is lead the Jets to a 5-5 record through 11 games. I repeat, that’s ALL he’s done. He is 10 games into his career and is completing 56% of his passes for 2100 yards, 8 TDs, and 16 INTs. He leads the league in 4th quarter comebacks with 4, and has shown glimpses into what the future can be like once the game begins to slow down for him. After these performances, the New York media that said he would have a tough time have crowned him the franchise QB the Jets have lacked since Broadway Joe Namath.
These glimpses have been overshadowed, at times, by his rookie moments that should’ve been expected. Fans pine for the guy before him, one Mark Sanchez, despite Geno’s stats his rookie year on pace to trump all of Mark’s. Mark Sanchez once won a game in his rookie year where he completed 8 of 16 passes for 63 yards. Mark Sanchez once won a game in his 4th year where he completed 11 passes. However, Geno’s the one who is setting the QB position back by his play as a second round rookie QB on a team that won six games last year. Some Jets fans seem to have forgotten this:
We forget the highs that came before it, and revise history to make it seem like the highs never happened. It’s what Jets fans do in this age of social networking. Everyone’s in a rush to be first, instead of trying to make sure that you’re right. After 10 games, here’s what we know definitively about Geno Smith; nothing. He has won 5 games and he has lost 5 games. He has a strong arm, he is mobile, and has struggled with accuracy. He’s completed at least 60% of his passes in 4 games this season, and has only completed 40% of his passes or less three times. His 2100 yards are more than Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Matt Schaub and he trails Tom Brady by 156 yards. His completion percentage is .8 percentage points lower than Brady’s.
When it’s been bad, like it was yesterday, it’s been bad but the blame doesn’t lie solely with him. The Jets arereally a team in the sense that they win and lose together; the defensive line didn’t generate any pressure on EJ Manuel yesterday, and in turn the DBs were exposed. On other teams, deficiencies can be masked because the guy is good enough to cover those up. Geno’s not THAT guy yet, but he should be given the time to find out if he can be.The Jets have actually developed Geno far better than they developed Mark during his rookie year; there’s been very little scaling back of the game plan as Geno has been allowed to win and lose games with his arm for the most part (the only exception being the New Orleans game). There has been no coddling of Geno, no handing him the job as the starter the rest of the way. The Jets, also, brought in an accomplished offensive coordinator to help develop Geno. Has he hit a rookie wall? It’s possible. However, the Jets went all in with Geno for this year and every move that John Idzik and Rex Ryan have made has been with the idea that their team will be built to be consistently competitive beginning in 2014. They will have approximately $40M in cap space, 12-14 draft picks, a young and developing defensive line, and holes to fill at WR, LB, DB, OL and possibly TE. You need to know if Geno Smith is the guy that will lead your franchise next year and every year going forward or else you’re entering next year trying to draft a guy to go through all of this with again or spending that cap space on an older free agent QB.
I still think the Jets make the playoffs, and it’s very possible that they win a game or two depending on the matchup. This article itself, like the ones highlighted above, might be dated by this time next week if Geno is able to lead the Jets to victory over Baltimore on the road. The narrative will then switch to Geno Da Truth, #GenoDaGawd, and how the Jets have their answer at QB. The Jets don’t have anything yet. This is why they don’t even have a QB controversy. Geno is the guy right now. Matt Simms is the backup. For once, the Jets are doing this QB thing right.