New York Jets 2015 Training Camp Profile: QB Geno Smith


What should fans expect out of quarterback Geno Smith as we progress through the off season and into training camp at the end of the month? We here at The Jet Press will be evaluating all the players on the roster of the New York Jets entering training camp. What better player to evaluate then the projected starting quarterback for the Jets.

Smith is entering his third NFL season and he’ll look to turn things around. There is reason for optimism as noted by Bucky Brooks‘ article on Can Geno Smith quarterback Jets into Playoffs in 2015?

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Let’s be honest, the Smith era has been nothing short of rocky in his first two years with the Jets. Take a look at his stats so far from


55.8 completion percentage, 3,046 yards passing, 12 touchdowns, 21 interceptions, 66.5 QBR


59.7 completion percentage, 2,525 yards passing, 13 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 77.5 QBR


57.5 completion percentage, 5,571 yards passing, 25 touchdowns, 34 interceptions, 71.5 QBR

This doesn’t even show the whole story which includes another seven lost fumbles for an astounding total of 41 turnovers in 30 appearances (29 starts). Though it’s not all bad for Smith, Brooks definitely sees a lot of potential in the young quarterback and cites some of his positives that he’s seen on film.

“In terms of the positives in Smith’s play, I would cite his accuracy and ball placement on quick-rhythm throws. When given the opportunity to execute an assortment of catch-and-throw passes (one- and three-step shotgun passes or three- and five-step drop-back passes), Smith gets the ball out of his hands quickly and delivers pinpoint passes within the pass catcher’s strike zone. Smith shows good timing and anticipation on in-breaking routes between the numbers. He releases the ball well before the receiver makes his break and routinely fits the ball in tight windows between multiple underneath defenders. Smith’s aggressiveness and confidence delivering the ball over the middle is uncommon for a young quarterback, which is why a wily offensive coordinator would welcome the opportunity to work with him as a developmental player.”

As mentioned earlier, it’s Smith’s job to lose. In my opinion it would take a collapse of epic proportions to not see Smith under center when the Jets open the season against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium in Week 1. With that being said, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a reliable veteran presence who has experience in Chan Gailey‘s offense with his time in Buffalo. There’s a reason the Jets’ brass decided to make the trade and bring this guy in. They believe Fitz can get the job done as he will be waiting in the wings if Smith continues to regress.

Nov 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws on the run against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What’s important for the Jets this season is to finally see if Smith can be the guy. Which should allow at least a 4-6 game leash for Smith to prove he’s the guy. Which opens the door for a variety of scenarios to play out: Smith could play lights out in an ideal situation and solidify himself as the Jets franchise quarterback. Or he could regress into a turnover machine which would send Smith to the bench for the rest of the season. Or perhaps is it possible there’s a middle-ground? Smith can manage the game, make throws when he needs to and coasts this team to a playoff berth? The latter seems the most likely, but there is hope yet that Smith can put it all together in his third campaign.

The problem is and always has been consistency.

 “He makes some good throws, he makes some bad throws. There’s got to be more consistency from the QBs overall,” coach Todd Bowles as per NFL Media’s Kimberly Jones.

Bowles hit it on the proverbial head, Smith has in fact shown flashes of brilliance or Pro Bowl flashes, whatever you’d like to call it. But he has also shown a propensity for bone-headed mistakes. Can Gailey finally be the right offensive coordinator? Here’s another quote from Brooks’ article which also hits the nail right on the head:

“When Bowles hired Gailey to guide the Jets’ offense, he brought on an innovative play designer with a reputation for concocting quarterback-friendly systems. Gailey’s positive work with the likes of Kordell Stewart, Tyler Thigpen and Ryan Fitzpatrick speaks volumes about his adaptability and flexibility as a play caller. As the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator, Gailey transformed the ultra-athletic Stewart into a capable pocket passer by tweaking the playbook to feature a number of quick-rhythm and movement-based concepts to help the youngster make solid decisions with the ball. With the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, Gailey brazenly introduced the NFL to the “pistol” offense with Thigpen at the helm. Gailey decided to incorporate the collegiate tactic into the playbook to help his inexperienced passer quickly transition to the pro game after being thrust into the starting role due to injuries. Gailey’s decision to install Thigpen’s collegiate offense (he ran the pistol at Coastal Carolina) not only showcased his ability to build around a quarterback’s specific talents, but it also demonstrated his schematic flexibility as a play designer.”

Gailey has worked wonders before why can’t he do it again? This isn’t going to surprise Jets fans reading this article but, the Jets are the worst screen team in the league. Why? I have no idea. I wish I knew, they’re the easiest plays in the entire playbook. They’re simple ways to gain yardage, the rival New England Patriots constantly use screens to pick up first downs and huge yardage.

In this new offense Smith will get a lot more screens, hitches, and quick-reads to get the ball out faster. It’ll also benefit Smith to have all the new weapons at his disposal. With Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and new rookie Devin Smith; Geno will look to improve the Jets woeful passing game.

Quick analysis says Marshall gives the Jets a legitimate No. 1 receiver that defenses have to plan for. Decker is one of the best second fiddles in the entire league. He has great size, smooth route running, and a savvy veteran. Kerley is an untapped oil reserve that could break out with all the attention elsewhere. And the Jets injected some youth into this unit by grabbing D. Smith out of Ohio State University. He brings a vertical threat to the passing game. Here is what Brooks also had to say about what D. Smith brings to the table:

The team’s second-round pick in May averaged an incredible 28.2 yards per catch during his final season at Ohio State, tallying 17 receptions of 30-plus yards (including 10 of his 12 touchdowns). Thus, Smith immediately adds a big-play element to an offense that desperately needed a vertical playmaker to prevent opponents from condensing the field with aggressive coverage tactics. Last season, the Jets finished with just 40 passing plays of 20-plus yards (30th in the NFL); that should change with Smith coming onboard. If he can enhance the passing game as a vertical threat, Marshall and Decker will have plenty of room to work on underneath routes inside the numbers.

May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (84) catches a pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is set to begin July 29th for veterans and rookies on the team. Smith has a lot to prove to show the Jets that the quarterback position has been resolved for the present and future. It’ll be interesting to see how Smith performs in training camp and throughout the preseason. The team is ready around Smith but will he be able to rise to the occasion?

The Jets are poised to make a legitimate run at the AFC East crown — or at the very least, a wild-card slot — behind a championship-caliber defense and a talented collection of skill players with the potential to anchor a sneaky explosive offense in 2015. Of course, the team will need efficient play from the quarterback position to earn a spot in the postseason. Only time will tell how the quarterback situation for the Jets will pan out.

Next: New York Jets 2015 Training Camp: Position battles to watch

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