New York Jets: A comprehensive look at Geno Smith


Aug 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback

Geno Smith

(7) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest question by far this summer for the New York Jets is whether or not Geno Smith can turn his game around? He’ll need to take the next step in his development and provide adequate QB play for this team to succeed. There will be competition in the form of Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it is Smith’s job to lose this summer. Ideally, Smith wins the job and continues to develop his game through the season.

Many Jet fans are down on Smith, some have even labeled him a bust. I don’t think it’s quite that bad, but certainly, Smith has a lot to prove to the coaching staff before fans accept him as their starting quarterback. This is a make or break season for Smith with the Jets if he wants a future with this team. He’ll need to perform to prove his worth.

Let’s take a comprehensive look into the football journey so far in his young career.

Next: The West Virginia Days

Nov 20, 2014; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers fans cheer in the first quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Days

Smith measures out at 6’3″/221 pounds and is just 24 years old. He was drafted by the Jets in the 2nd Round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Many Jet fans were excited by the drafting of Smith, claiming he would one day become the franchise quarterback for the Jets. Other fans like myself questioned Smith’s maturity and how his game would transition to the NFL. So far, the latter group has proven to be right. Fans including myself are hoping Smith can turn it around and prove his doubters wrong.

Smith played his college ball at West Virginia University. His Freshman year saw Smith as the back up quarterback for the Mountaineers behind senior Jarrett Brown. Smith saw some snaps in his freshman year and ended the year with 32 of 49 completions for 309 yards, Smith added 7 yards rushing on 17 attempts. He threw one TD pass and an interception as well.

His Sophomore season saw him take the reigns of West Virginia’s offense. In his first full season as a starter for West Virginia, Smith impressed the coaching staff and began to get notice from NFL scouts as well. Smith started all thirteen games for West Virginia in 2010, putting up some impressive numbers. He finished the season with 241 completions on 372 attempt, Smith threw for 2,763 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Smith claimed the starting job for the remainder of his college career.

In 2011, West Virginia brought in new head coach Dana Holgorsen and a new high-powered passing offense to build off of Smith’s talents. Smith responded big time. In just his Junior year, Smith put up numbers that began to break records left and right. His 401 yards passing in a lopsided Orange Bowl victory against the Clemson Tigers topped the record of 396 yards set by Tom Brady in 2000.

In that game, he also set Orange Bowl records by throwing six touchdowns, adding another on the ground and putting up the most points in Orange Bowl history. Smith threw for seven 300 yard games in his Junior campaign as well. He ended the year with 346 completions on 526 attempts for 4,385 yards. Smith’s 31 touchdowns on just 7 interceptions solidified him as one of the leading college quarterbacks playing at that time.

After lighting up the Big East in 2010 and 2011, West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012. The switch did little to slow the up and coming Smith. He simply started off where he left off. In his final collegiate campaign, Smith posted 369 completions on 518 attempts for 4,205 yards, adding 42 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions.

Smith finished his career at West Virginia with 988 completions on 1,465 attempts for a whopping 11,662 yards to go along with 342 yards on the ground. He accounted for 98 touchdowns through the air and another 4 rushing touchdowns. Overall, Smith threw 21 interceptions during his collegiate career and posted an overall 67.4% completion rate through four years at West Virginia.

Next: Enter The Jets

Jul 27, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback

Geno Smith

(7) drops back to pass during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Enter The Jets

Smith arrived in New York under high expectations. The fan base was tired of the endless wait for Mark Sanchez to develop into something resembling an NFL quarterback and they turned to Smith with anticipation. We all know the story on Smith thus far, 25 touchdowns, 34 interceptions and a career 57.5% completion rate.

It’s easy to dismiss Smith outright as a bust since I can certainly understand those that have. Yet, in Smith’s defense, there is a case to be made that he hasn’t had ideal conditions to succeed on the Jets thus far. He was clearly not ready to start at the NFL level in his rookie season but due to an injury to Mark Sanchez, was thrown to the wolves. It’s not easy for a quarterback to transition to the NFL level in his rookie season but to do it on the field is a whole different ballgame. Smith flashed, but clearly wasn’t ready.

Second year, again high expectations, a few more weapons and Smith actually digresses. The offensive line didn’t help his job any easier but clearly Smith was still lost at times last year. Put all the blame on Smith if you like, but I have to wonder about the coaching staff. David Garrard was brought in to resurrect Sanchez’s career, but failed to get much out of either Sanchez and Smith.

Smith also had to learn an entirely new offensive system as the Jets have changed offensive coordinators more often then the express train runs out of Brooklyn in recent years. It hasn’t been ideal for a young signal caller to grow up in to say the least.

The third year for a player is often the year when the game begins to slow down and players make a leap forward. Smith goes into year three with another new offensive coordinator, a new system, new personnel and a new head coach. The Jets need for the game to slow down for Smith and for him to succeed this year more than ever before. Much of this season may lie solely on whether Smith can make that next level of play.

There is little doubt Smith holds the physical attributes to take the next step.  He has the size and athleticism undoubtedly. His arm strength is strong enough as well. Can Smith make that next step? Does he have what it takes to be a franchise quarterback for the Jets? I have my doubts for certain. On the other hand I’m surely hoping so!

Let’s hear what you’re expecting from Smith this season. Do you think the change of coaching staff and a move to a spread offense will aid Smith? We want to hear your opinions on Smith so please sound off below by leaving a comment! Let’s Talk Jet Football!

Next: New York Jets: Will team be that bad offensively come 2015?

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