Jets News

New York Jets: Geno Smith, Percy Harvin, NFL Draft and More

By Sean Lester Durham
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1.) – Jets QB Situation – 

The Jets are one of a few teams this off-season that find themselves dealing with more than a few questions at the most important position on the team – the QB position.  I’m actually trying to remember a time in which this particular issue wasn’t an off-season issue for the Jets – I can’t.  So once again, the QB position is under the scope and for good reason as Geno Smith did nothing last year to prevent it.  I don’t blame Jets fans for being down on Geno, but as down as some are on him, I do believe he is the Jets “best” option next season.  Part of this is going to be by default and yes, the other will be because he’s just simply the better option.

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Let’s be clear about it though, if it was up to me I would do everything in my power to trade up for Florida State QB Jameis Winston and not really care what anyone thought about it.  That doesn’t seem to be a legitimate option for the Jets, so in my opinion, the next best option is Geno Smith for a few reasons, one of which is his familiarity in the inevitable spread offense that new Jets OC Chan Gailey is likely bringing, (I’ll get more into that later).  Simply put; I really love Geno’s potential in this offense.

The idea for the Jets is to find someone that can unequivocally unseat Geno and take over as the starter, but with the way the free agent QB dominos are falling, I just don’t see that happening.  Some Jets fans want Mariota and I understand – a “top” QB prospect vs the inconsistent/bad incumbent starter in Geno – I get it.  I personally don’t see Mariota beating Geno in a fair QB competition, despite how bad/inconsistent Geno has been.  Some might see it, I don’t.

Next: Percy Harvin

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin (16) on the sideline during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Jets won 16-11. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

2.) – Percy Harvin

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Jets find themselves in a position having to deal with talented WR Percy Harvin this offseason.  As I outlined here – on the outside, this isn’t a black or white issue, it’s certainly an issue that is compounded with more than a few variables.  Some are making it seem more simple than it truly is in saying that Harvin isn’t worth the $10 mill salary the Jets are slated to pay him next season, when in fact, that is a narrative that has been repeated and abused.  Again – there are more than one variable here that needs focusing on – here are a few of them from my perspective:

– Percy Harvin still commands immediate attention and respect from opposing defenses.  He’s a game changing player that is more than a “gimmicky” player.  His route running could use some work, but when in open space (and in a Spread Offense, Harvin should find plenty of open space) he’s as dangerous as anybody at his position.

– Jets will have more cap space than they should be able to spend right now.  Why not keep Percy’s contract the way it is currently structured?  If the Jets restructure Harvin’s contract, then they are committed to him.   Right now they aren’t and they can move on whenever they want.  Percy wants and needs to get paid and Jets and this offense need a player of his skill set.

– No 4th round pick will be as impactful as Harvin.  We already know what we have in him. The Jets last WR they drafted in the 4th round (last year) didn’t even finish the season on the team.  Keep Percy – pay Percy – play Percy.

– Geno Smith finds himself in a pivotal season in which his entire career essentially depends on what happens this year.  I just don’t like the idea of taking such a talented and important weapon away from Geno especially considering both Harvin and Geno’s skill sets translate well to the Spread Offense, the offense new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is reportedly ready to implement.

Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik looks on during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

3.) – John Idzik’s ‘legacy’ with the Jets

“Legacy?” you say -well, yeah – sort of.  The former Jets GM has only been gone going three months and has already found another gig down in Jacksonville, but let’s be clear about something in regards to Idzik, his legacy and resume is still in the works quite literally.  Never-mind why John Idzik was fired, or if he even deserved to be fired or another off-season to right the “wrongs” – pointless discussions at this point.  Better discussion will be; Will he redeem himself here with the Jets, all while no longer actually being here with the Jets?

Not as crazy as it sounds considering the following players were all drafted by John Idzik and will/should play an immediate role in whatever turnaround this Jets team will attempt to make over the next year or two:

  • Geno Smith – The embattled QB has struggled the past two seasons, but has flashed and shown promise.  I know some Jets fans roll their eyes at the mention of the word “promise” or “flash” but it’s not only all we have at this point, it’s actually true.  What I’ve personally noticed with Geno is that when he has solid protection, he’s accurate, decisive and makes solid/good decisions for the most part.  Geno’s issues come about when the line doesn’t hold up and he’s forced out of the original play – a problem, yes I agree.  Spread offense should certainly help Geno in this area and I’ll explain more on that later, but if he’s indeed the starting QB next season for the Jets, he’s the biggest Idzik drafted player that will be pivotal to the Jets success or failure in their immediate future.
  • Jace Amaro – The highly talented second year TE will likely play more of a role next season than he did last season.  I thought he was under-utilized quite a bit last season and that’s putting it nicely.  He has the size and skills to be a serious mismatch for opposing defenders and is a perfect redzone target.  His run blocking improved down the stretch (not that there was much throwing going on any way) and his athleticism was evident as he flashed more and more down the stretch.  The spread offense is really friendly to athletic TEs and Amaro will/should certainly get his chances to shine.
  • Calvin Pryor – Pryor’s struggle last season were well documented.  Did he flash? Quite literally maybe two or three times and that’s not hyperbole.  Pryor was either invisible or out of position for the most part, but there were a handful of plays he made that made you step back and nod your head.  The skills are there for this kid, the attributes are there for him, he just needs to be more instinctive and cognizant of the ball.  Hard to say I can see him playing better as the flashes from him were too few and far between, but with a new defensive coaching staff in place, I feel confident he will at least be coached by the “best defensive coordinator” Richard Sherman has ever seen.
  • RB Chris Ivory, CB Marcus Williams, WR Erik Decker, DT Sheldon Richardson, CB Dexter McDougle, CB Dee Milliner and LB Ik Enemkpali  are all expected to be major contributors to this Jets team for the immediate future. Of course the likelihood of all of them panning out are very slim, but it’s fair to say that all have and should continue at least getting the chance to produce for this Jets team and altering John Idzik’s resume in the process.

 

Next: Spread Offense/Deep Draft

The Packers are one of a few NFL teams that has utilized the Spread Offense lately.

4.) – The Spread Offense and Chan Gailey

Since Chan Gailey was rumored to be taking over the Jets Offensive Coordinator position, his knowledge and usage of the spread offense has been dissected and examined ad nausea.  We know he’s familiar with it, but we still have some that even doubt the effectiveness of the spread offense in today’s NFL.  Part of the reason is likely due to confusion on the spread and how it differs from other notable offensive systems and schemes.  I’ll try to simplify it from every stand point that relates to the Jets.

– Current NFL Teams that utilize the Spread Offense – Packers, Eagles, Patriots and Panthers are a few of the teams in the NFL that effectively utilizes the spread offense and execute it very well. What separates what they do as oppose to what offenses do in college is the fact that they don’t run 100% spread offenses.  They mix in a solid % of Pro Style offensive schemes to keep the offense unpredictable and the defense guessing and on their toes.

– Geno is better suited for the spread offense (He ran an extreme version of the spread at West Virginia with the Air Raid) that utilizes a more up-tempo, quick hitting style of passing.  Remember earlier I stated how Geno is better in the pocket when the protection is better and he can locate his targets without being under duress?  Well QBs in the spread/up-tempo offenses  play with more confidence and decisiveness from the pocket. This results in more completions and first downs — and fewer costly miscues.

Some of the effectiveness is the result of the quick-rhythm throws that are key components of no-huddle game plans, due to the need to string together positive plays and retain possession of the ball.   The spread offense is centered around stretching the defense thin with the use more 3 or more receivers as well as using running backs and multiple tight ends as receivers. It is specifically designed to open up seams and holes for the offense, and does not specifically focus on the passing or running game.

– No NFL team should be running 100% spread as it can be adapted to rather quickly by opposing NFL defenses.  It should be a mix between spread and pro, something I think Geno is more than capable of seeing as though he’s become rather familiar with the pro offense, but is vastly familiar with the spread.  It’s seemingly another reason why I believe keeping Harvin is vital as his skill set is perfect for the spread offense.

5.) – Loaded Draft – 

This current draft is loaded at more than a few positions.  WR, O-line, Pass rusher and RB to name a few.  The Jets, like draft, are in a position to garner not only solid depth, but  legitimate day one contributors on both sides of the ball within the first three rounds.  Nothing of course is guarantee, but there is a such thing a quality and smart drafting and considering how deep this class is in key areas for the Jets, is it too much to ask for at least 2-3 immediate contributors from the draft?

That’s asking too much you say?  Well – check this out –

Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr in the first round and RB Andre Williams in the fourth round. (2 immediate contributors) – Raiders drafted Khalil Mack in the first round, Derek Carr in the second round and C Gabe Jackson in the 3rd. All started at least 12 games for the Raiders and all not only contributed, but flashed. (3 immediate contributors)

– Packers drafted Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, WR Davante Adams in the second round, TE Richard Rogers in the third round and their starting Center Corey Linsely in the sixth round. (4 immediate contributors)

I don’t need to tell you how impressive a draft the Packers had do I? I also don’t need to tell you how most winning organizations have a winning draft system and the losing organizations don’t. The Jets have not drafted well for the most part over the years. You say the Jets drafted players last April that started games, well I say TE Jace Amaro was the only one worth noting as Calvin Pryor was benched quite a few times.  It’s not about drafting rookies and starting them for the sake of saying this team is starting rookies, but it’s about scouting adequately, drafting tactfully and methodically and getting players that can not only immediately contribute, but produce as well.  New regime, new management, new scout – we need to see a change starting this draft.

Next: Post combine prospect thoughts

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper catches a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

6.) Post Combine Thoughts On The Draft – 

Combine didn’t change my feeling much on the top prospects, even the sleeper prospects that I love performed well and should actually move up before the draft.  It’s impossible to say how the Jets feel about QB Marcus Mariota, the only ‘top’ QB in this draft they will have a legitimate shot at.  It might not matter how the Jets feel about Mariota as the chatter now has it he’ll likely be gone before the sixth pick.  As it stands, if the draft were held today, I would expect Jameis Winston, Leonard Williams, Kevin White, Amari Cooper and Dante Fowler or Alvin Dupree to be gone by the time the Jets pick.

For all intents and purposes I believe Mariota will be there, but again, if he’s not, it would mean that someone traded up to draft him and one of the aforementioned draft prospects would likely still be there. Most likely Amari Cooper or one of the pass rushers Fowler or Dupree.  I would make my selection one of these prospects (Cooper, Fowler or Dupree).  In my opinion, all three are immediate day one starters/contributors.

7.) Louisville RB Michaael Dyer is one of the RBs I would love for the Jets to look at in this draft.  If you’re not familiar with him – Here’s a brief highlight of him vs Florida State last year –

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