Be Careful What You Wish For in the New York Jets’ QB Competition


Jul 28, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) takes a snap from under center from center Nick Mangold (74) during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It is becoming clear that the quarterback competition is “on”. Geno Smith is impressing everybody with his ability to learn the offense quickly, and for his rocket arm. Not as prominent, however, is the play of Mark Sanchez, but he has asserted himself well in his own right, not throwing an INT until yesterday morning’s practice.

The fan base has become a bit one-sided with this competition. The majority of the fan base is pulling for Geno Smith, and hoping that he pulls away from Mark and takes this job. They are hanging on the tweets of everything Geno does, and showing quite the excitement when he performs well.

It’s understandable to be frustrated about the quarterback play in recent years. Heck, Stevie Wonder would be frustrated with our quarterback play in recent years. You don’t have to be a football expert to realize that we need better play at the position. But, that doesn’t mean that we should be pulling for one of our competing quarterbacks to fail.

Here is what I have to say on that: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

What do I mean? First of all, it is nice to be excited about a quarterback with a great arm. Again, we are all aware of the recent quarterback issues. But, we need to be careful not to anoint a guy the next Dan Marino, based on a few throws on the practice field. Let’s not go insisting that he is the starter now, based on four days of practice, it’s silly.

Remember first, he hasn’t played in a game yet. It’s very nice that Geno has made a connection with Stephen Hill and others, but it is on the practice field. We all know that playing in a game is very different. The speed is different, and facing an opponent is always different. Is it possible that we wait until we see Geno complete a pass against someone wearing a different color jersey, before we anoint him the week 1 starter? Is that too much to ask?

Same thing for Mark by the way. Don’t think I am trying to say we should name Mark the starter now, because I am not. I am just saying let’s not jump the gun.

Also remember, the preseason isn’t always an indicator of very much. Yes, it is all we have in evaluating quarterbacks for the season, but it still can be misleading. I have mentioned this stat before, but it is worth repeating, Mark Sanchez completed nearly 70% of his passes during the preseason. How did that work out for us? I think we can unanimously agree to the answer, not too well.

Again, the speed of the game is different. The regular season is a few degrees faster than the preseason. The defenses are just getting into shape, and are holding back their more creative schemes. They don’t want everything they do to be on film, so they run basic sets. Therefore, things will be unveiled during week one that Geno will have never seen before. Add that to being a rookie quarterback in the NFL, and the odds for success initially drop significantly.

Finally, look at the odds of rookie success anyway. Yes, the big three from last season, RGIII, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson were great. But, that is not the norm. Peyton Manning finished his rookie season with a 3-13 record. John Elway was 5-7 in games he participated in as a rookie. In 1980, Joe Montana’s first significant playing time, he went 6-10.

Be careful what you wish for, Jets’ fans, because you just might get it. It’s OK to rebuild with a new QB, but if anyone expects us to just take off by putting Geno in as the starter, you need to be realistic. Sure it could happen. But to be so sure that there will be drastic change…come on now. The odds are just not in favor. The odds are more in favor of Geno slipping up in the regular season and him getting booed like Mark.