TOJ Fan Friday – The Marshall Machine

TOJ Fan Friday with Jason Wiles discussing the importance of Brandon Marshall to aiding Geno Smith’s development

Welcome to a new series at Turn On The Jets! Every Friday we are going to publish an article from one of our fans/regular readers of the site. We want to hear from you and hopefully source a few new regular contributors. Jason Wiles keeps us rolling with today’s article about Geno Smith and Brandon Marshall. Make sure to give Jason a follow and if you are interested in submitting an article for next Friday, send an e-mail along to!

Geno Smith is regarded as one of the league’s worst QBs, and statistically that ranking is deserved. For the past two seasons, Geno was throwing into holes he had no business throwing into. Against the Bills in the middle of last season he threw three interceptions in three plays leading to a needed benching.

But Smith’s last six games were quietly solid. He had a 66% completion rating over 134 attempts and 6 TDs to only 3 interceptions. He changed his TD/INT ratio from +0.7 to +2.0. His passer rating averaged out at 91.85, putting him in the same bracket as Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, and Eli Manning.

So what happened?

To figure that out, we need to go back to the beginning of this season. The Jets WR depth chart is Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and David Nelson going into the season.  Defenses could trust their CB2 and nickel to cover Kerley and Nelson with next to no help, allocating players to help cover Decker, or assist in the pass rush.

No one could get open, and Geno suffered for it. Smith had 7 TDs and 10 interceptions with an abysmal 56% completion rating and a 58.53 RAT, earning a spot on the bench. But then Percy Harvin comes in via trade and defenses have to worry about someone other than Decker. Despite Harvin’s shortcomings, you can’t just leave the guy open and you certainly can’t leave your CB2 on a player who’s that fast. The depth charts were finally lined up correctly, with the opponent’s CB2 going up against the very talented Decker, the nickel being challenged by Kerley.

For the first time in his entire career, Geno had a WR corps worth the name and he responded well. By giving Geno looks and separation he’s never had before, he made less mistakes with the ball, hit his targets, and produced more passing touchdowns.

This off-season Mike Maccagnan replaced Harvin with the much more talented Brandon Marshall, who can go against top CB1s in middle and short passing game game, an ability Harvin lacked. What does this mean for Geno?

He now has the tools to prove himself. The Smith-Marshall connection is going to be key this year, and they both know it. Geno and Marshall are actually living together in the offseason, working on their chemistry and improving their knowledge of the new offensive system. Building chemistry with his new #1 target in Marshall will be critical, as his connection to Decker and Kerley has already been developed.

If Geno can get Marshall over a thousand yards with minimal turnovers, spreading the ball to the Decker, Amaro, Kerley, and rookie speedster Devin Smith, I think he may exceed expectations. Geno has proven he can produce more with talent around him. I’m excited to see what he can do with by far the most talented WR group he’s ever thrown to.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports