Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Remember 2009? Following a four interception performance, coach Rex Ryan, Brian Schottenheimer and company instituted a three colored wrist band system, red, yellow and green, to help Mark Sanchez with his decision-making.
Well, we may be getting ready for a bit of deja vu. At yesterday’s press conference, coach Ryan announced that they are considering returning to the color-coded system to help Geno Smith with his struggles.
Following that press conference, our fellow writer, Craig Hoffman, made the excellent point that Rex Ryan has no filter. He is not concerned about this, because Rex likes to talk, and says a lot of things that don’t always happen.
He is absolutely right about this, and I hope that this is the case here. If Craig is wrong, and the Jets ARE going back to this, it’s a terrible idea. It could be the beginning of the end for Geno Smith, as well as the current coaching staff.
Take a look at how it “worked” for Mark Sanchez in 2009, courtesy of a tweet from Chris Lopresti of WFAN in NY:
For the record, Mark Sanchez’s 2009 regular season stats w/color wristband system (5 games): 130.6 YPG, 2 TD’s, 4 INT’s, 58.6 CMP%. #NYJ
— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) October 2, 2013
We can simplify those numbers with one simple statement: It didn’t work. Why?
Well, on its face, the concept is a good idea. The system explains when to proceed with caution, when to go for it, and when to stop, based on the red, yellow and green colors. Like a traffic light, it is designed to tell you when it is safe to take a chance, and when it is not. You might think, “Wow, what a great way to teach a quarterback that is having trouble with throwing interceptions! He’ll perfect in his mind, when to take a chance and when not to.”
But give it more thought, and think about playing the position, and you realize that this is not the case at all.
The key to playing quarterback is to not have any fear. Phil Simms, for example, turned the corner as a quarterback when Bill Parcells told him to keep throwing, no matter how many turnovers he made. The reason? A quarterback has to develop their own instincts for where the ball can go, and where it can’t.
A color-coded system dictates to a quarterback which plays he can take a shot with, and what plays he cannot. What that does, is causes the player to go against their own instincts. They relate specific plays to what can be done, rather than trusting their eyes.
That type of system causes fear in a quarterback. They want to believe what they see, and use their instincts, but they are forced to work in the color system instead. Driving down a football field, the colors don’t matter. Quarterbacks have to trust their instincts, otherwise they are already set up to fail, before you consider anything else.
We saw what happened to Mark Sanchez. Going to this system would jump start the same thing happening to Geno Smith.
Later on in the day, Rex did say on the radio that they will not use the color coded system with Geno. But, like Craig said, Rex has no filter, it doesn’t mean they won’t use it. We never know what Rex is really thinking these days.
Craig Hoffman better be right. God help us if he is wrong, because a color-coded system is a stupid idea.