March 19, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan answers questions from reporters during the annual NFL meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Geno Smith (West Virginia) is introduced as the number thirty-ninth overall pick to the New York Jets during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Smith was by far the most interesting pick the New York Jets this weekend. We know that the team has quarterback issues. The wrench in it was the variety of grades with the quarterback class. The grades from this quarterback group were so wide-ranging that choosing one would have been better served on the third day of the draft. None of them graded high enough to make the first two days, based on the personal “eye test”.
Another reason the pick was so interesting is the gentleman pictured to the right. Rex Ryan, as we all know, has been joined at the hip with the incumbent starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. His success the first two years of his coaching term was directly tied in with Mark Sanchez. The success, and with that, the failure, of this quarterback is directly tied in with this coach. It makes another choice of a quarterback high in the draft, interesting.
Moving forward, let’s think about what this draft pick means to the relationship of the current coach and the new quarterback.
Whether or not Geno Smith wins the job as starting quarterback in 2013 remains to be seen. You know my feeling about the situation, that he is definitely not ready to move ahead that quickly. His pocket presence is not great, and his accuracy is strikingly inconsistent. When his mechanics are on, he is accurate, but too often they are not, and therefore he is not.
David Lee has a lot to work with before Geno Smith is ready to take the keys to this team.
However, Geno Smith will get the keys to this team. You don’t draft a quarterback in either of the first two rounds of the draft, without the expectation that he will eventually become the starting quarterback. You don’t “reach” for a player at that level, you pick a player that you are confident will become the guy, with a couple of years. You choose a guy like this to be the future of your team.
Let’s think about coach Ryan for a minute. We all have thought about Rex as a lame duck. There is a new general manager in town, and typically, general managers want to bring in their own head coaches. They don’t like to be handcuffed with a head coach that was here before they were. It can work, but it doesn’t always.
Now that the Jets have kept Rex Ryan, they have drafted a quarterback for the future. Look at it in this light, are the Jets going to draft a quarterback for the future, and then bring in a new coaching staff next year that wasn’t part of drafting their quarterback? That doesn’t make sense. A new coach will not want to be handcuffed by a young quarterback that they didn’t necessarily want.
Isn’t it more realistic to think that drafting a new quarterback under Rex’s watch might mean that they are giving the keys to Rex for longer than this year? Doesn’t it make you think they are going to give Rex the chance to fix the situation that the Mark Sanchez problem has caused? The latter seems to make more sense.
We will see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months, but maybe Rex is not as lame duck as we thought. Maybe he is getting the chance to fix this team, that none of us thought he would get.
Time will tell.