Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterbackGeno Smith
(7) wipes his forehead after being interviewed against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The quarterback position is one of great debate and discussion for the New York Jets. They have not been able to find one for many, many years, and that continues to the present. The franchise quarterback has eluded the Jets for longer than we all care to admit.
That brings us to today, and the guy in the crosshairs, Geno Smith. Smith is a guy that has given the Jets a lot of headaches over the past couple of years. I have myself written about the fact that we can question Geno Smith’s football intelligence. Smith makes a lot of really bad decisions, and doesn’t seem to learn from them.
With a new group of leaders in Maccagnan and Bowles, we learn that Geno Smith is not guaranteed the starting position. The Jets will bring in someone via the draft and/or free agency to give Smith a run for his money.
I know how you all feel about Geno Smith. But, let’s look at the situation realistically. When you do that, you come to this conclusion. Will Geno Smith start in 2015? We don’t know that. However, will Geno Smith be on the opening day roster? The answer to that, my friends, is yes.
And here is why.
Next: The Age Factor
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) drops back to pass against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
First of all, you have to look at Geno Smith’s age. I know that makes many of you moan and groan after watching him play, but you have to. It’s only fair. Geno Smith will enter week one of the 2015 season at the ripe old age of 24. 24! This is a player only going into his third season. You cannot give up on a player at the age of 24. There is still too much potential.
Look at Alex Smith, for example. He was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft, coming to the 49ers with a lot of expectations. But, nobody even found Alex Smith relevant until Jim Harbaugh‘s arrival in 2011. By the end of 2012, many fans were hoping the Jets would bring this guy in as a veteran quarterback to give competition. Had the 49ers given up on him after two years, there is no telling how things would have turned out for them or for Smith.
Why did it play out like this? Because Jim Harbaugh was able to reach Alex Smith with the right offensive system for his skill set. Is it totally impossible that a new regime will do the same for Geno Smith?
Which brings me to my next point.
Next: Chan Gailey
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new head coachTodd Bowles
speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
Todd Bowles recently hired Chan Gailey to be the offensive coordinator. If you have been reading me long enough, you know I am not thrilled by the hire, never thought much of him. He has posted some minor successes with individual players, but never put together an offense that was particularly scary. Be that as it may, Gailey is here.
The one thing we have heard about Gailey is that his bread and butter system has been the spread offense. I just rewatched some highlights of Geno Smith from his days at West Virginia. Take a look:
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What do you see? Geno Smith running the spread offense. He was running it quite well if you ask me. Sometimes, it takes the right system and the right approach to reach a player. Chan Gailey, as suspect as some of his history might be, may just have the system to reach our young Geno.
Next: Geno Has Talent
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
20-25, 358 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. I don’t care if this is the line of a quarterback from a conference title game, or a game in the regular season as your team plays out the string, it’s a great game. It’s not easy to put a line together like that in the NFL. If it was, every quarterback would be doing it every week.
In case you don’t remember, that was the stat line for Geno Smith in the final game of the year, against the Miami Dolphins. An NFL quarterback that can post numbers like that is a player with talent. A player that is completely void of talent would not be able to put up a game like that.
Geno was benched in week 8 as we all recall, after throwing three picks in three straight passes. He came back in into his role in week 12, replacing Michael Vick. Take a look at Geno’s stats from that point on, when he returned in the Buffalo game:
88-134, 65.6% completion percentage, 1,155 yards, six touchdowns, three interceptions. That’s a stretch that covers nearly six games, and it’s some of the best of Geno’s career. I know he ended 2013 well, and was bad in 2014. But, this is a player that is talented. There is something there. It is too soon to write him off.
Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) scrambles under pressure from Oregon Ducks linebackerTony Washington
(91) in the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
OK, if Geno Smith is gone, who plays? They could draft Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. They are by far the best quarterback prospects in the upcoming draft. But, do any of you believe these are the types of players that can take over day one and be the franchise quarterback? Winston is more pro ready, but is he rookie starter ready? I don’t know. He’s not Andrew Luck. He’s not Russell Wilson. He could be the guy, but we also could be having the same conversation about him instead of Geno at this time next year if they rush him.
The other guys in the draft are prospects, certainly not immediate starters.
What about free agency? We could bring in Brian Hoyer. Could he take over? Maybe. Mike Glennon could be the answer, as a couple of us at this site have discussed. But we don’t know that. We certainly don’t believe that Michael Vick is the answer, should be come back. The fact is there aren’t a lot of immediate alternatives to Geno Smith.
Is Geno Smith the long-term answer? I am not telling you that he is. What I am saying is that the Jets are not going to give up on him as of yet, and he will be here when the season opens in 2015.