By now, not even two weeks after the NFL draft, you’ve heard the rally cries from New York Jets fans starved for a franchise quarterback
“Start the kid.”
“Accept the Pettyness.”
“We know what we have with the other kid. Petty can’t be worse.”
“Tom Brady was a 6th round pick and look at how well he’s done.”
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve said the same thing for months now: Jets fans needed to come to the realization that Geno Smith will probably be the starting quarterback to begin the 2015 season. Now, does this mean he can’t implode? No. Does this mean that he will be the QB for the full season? Not necessarily but let’s take a look at what the Jets have done this off season and you’ll see why 2015 isn’t about Bryce Petty…
1. Hire Chan Gailey as Offensive Coordinator: Gailey, who has ran a variation of the spread throughout his entire career and who is as responsible for the birth of “Slash” (Kordell Stewart) and who turned Tyler Thigpen into a serviceable quarterback running the same offense he will probably run here. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, during the lead up to the 2013 NFL draft, remarked how great Geno would look in Gailey’s offense when there was talk of Geno going first overall. An offense that was also ran efficiently by…
2. Trade for Ryan Fitzpatrick to compete/mentor Geno Smith: Todd Bowles and Gailey will not hesitate to pull Geno Smith if he falters because they have a guy in Fitzpatrick who ran Gailey’s offense so well that the Bills rewarded him with a $55M contract. Fitzpatrick is also here to help Geno pick up the offense faster. Geno has more raw ability than Fitzpatrick has ever had, but what Fitzpatrick has on him is accuracy and experience. You help a young inaccurate QB by getting him big targets. Which reminds me…
3. Trade for a 6’5″ WR in Brandon Marshall to team him with a 6’3″ Eric Decker and a 6’5″ Jace Amaro to form a trio of trees for Geno to throw to: Marshall has one of the better catch radius in the league, expecting improvement from Amaro is realistic and Decker had a good 2014 when you consider he battled injuries and dealt with the worst quarterback play in the league. Geno struggled with his accuracy, and so now you’ve given him receivers that can go up and catch balls in traffic or win one on ones. The one thing Geno did do well was throw a really good deep ball. The offense just didn’t really have anyone to stretch the field, until…4. The Jets draft Devin Smith, a 6’0″ WR with 4.4 speed and very good hands: Geno did not have anyone to take advantage of his arm strength, and now he does. Smith also possesses a very good catch radius and has an almost innate ability to track a deep ball and then catch it at the highest point.
Petty is currently the fourth quarterback, so his reps won’t be much early on. Even if he starts getting reps over Matt Simms, he would have to start getting Fitzpatrick and Smith’s reps to push for playing time this year. Only way he gets more reps is if Geno and Fitzpatrick both play very poorly. The odds of them playing that poorly in this offense? With better weapons? I don’t know, I have yet to see the quarterback that plays worse with better players around him. Jets fans expecting Tom Brady when looking at Bryce Petty need to realize this, courtesy of Football Outsiders:
Eventually you get to the last three rounds and those quarterbacks are about as likely to never see the field as they are to start a game. In rounds 6-7, 43.0 percent of the quarterbacks have played zero games. The sixth round having the best cumulative win-loss record (in games started) can be explained in two words: Tom Brady. “Mo Lewis” is another acceptable answer, since we’ll never know if Brady would have had the opportunity without Drew Bledsoe’s injury. Not many teams are dying to start the sixth-round pick.
4th round quarterbacks generally do not find much success in the league. The best fourth round quarterbacks in recent memory are David Garrard, Aaron Brooks, and Kyle Orton. There have been 28 quarterbacks taken in the 4th round since 1994, and none have made the Pro Bowl. You would have to go back to 1987, when a fourth round quarterback named Rich Gannon was taken to find a high level of success. Those expecting David Garrard should probably prepare themselves for Petty to be more Danny Kanell or Rob Johnson. Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley also went in the 4th round, in case you want to further temper your expectations.The transition for Petty will be difficult, as it is for all fourth round QBs, but he won’t see meaningful time because everything the Jets have done this offseason is to ensure Geno Smith or potentially Ryan Fitzpatrick succeeds.