Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles in his own end zone against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Smith’s first NFL regular season start will take place on Sunday afternoon at MetLife stadium. Geno Smith will be tested, as he faces Darrelle Revis and the rest of the Tampa Bay Bucs. A debut is always a big one, but especially for a quarterback, which as we all know carries the biggest burden on his shoulders.
But he can get through it. We saw the problems that Geno had during the game against the Giants. Some of that worries, but some of that is attributed to not having a real “game plan” for a preseason game. Some of those things will be taken away, as there will be a game plan in place to attack the Bucs specifically.
So, how does Marty Mornhinweg and the offensive staff help Geno Smith get through the game? How do they set him up for success? Here is how.
EXCELLENT LINE PLAY
Everything is better from an offensive standpoint when the line is looking good. It’s especially going to help a young quarterback making his regular season debut. The first reason is in the passing game. The last thing you want is for your young QB to have a pass rush in his face all day. He can talk about how cool under pressure he is all he likes, but if the pressure is on consistently, any young quarterback is bound to get happy feet, and then he is finished for the day.
It’s also important for the running game. Despite the fact that this offense is based on the passing game, the running attack will have to be successful, at least to some degree, for Geno to have any chance of being efficient. If the defense can just wait on every play for the pass, it will not be a pretty day for him.
EFFICIENCY ON SECOND AND THIRD DOWN
No matter what Geno says to the press this week, he is going to have jitters as he takes the field to lead the offense. There is no question about it. And do you know what will add to those jitters? Third and long, that’s what.
How do you stay out of third and long? Win the battle on first and second down. Keep the passing game under control, with plays that Geno is most comfortable with. A recipe for disaster would be to open the playbook and extend the field instantly. Jitters will lead to inaccuracy and turnovers.
One thing that has improved with Geno in there is the screen game. Get the running backs involved in the screen game early. Geno is comfortable executing the play, so it’s a no-brainer. Executed well, it’s a high percentage play, and it gains positive yardage. Go with it. It will help Geno get his feet under him.
Sneak the run in there as well. Start with the short passes to get it going, and mix in an effective run game. Nothing will be better to get a QB’s feet wet than to take the all-encompassing burden off of his shoulders with a successful running attack. It will give him more time to throw, and will keep him out of long down and distances.
DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE
The Jets bread and butter under Rex Ryan was, is, and always will be, his defense. Great defense spurs the offense on to great things. They don’t have to run up and down the field with the other team, and play their game. Geno’s game will be more than sustained by an excellent outing by the defense.
It won’t substitute for Geno playing well, but it will put him in a position to win.
What do you guys think the Jets need to do to set Geno Smith up for success?