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New York Jets: The season hinges on Geno Smith

By Paul Newbold
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The quarterback position for the New York Jets has to be the most talked about position this year among fans. The media has followed suit, with a plethora of articles to be found on the web. Fans have discussed possible trades, the possibility of Ryan Fitzpatrick starting and the odds of Geno Smith turning his career around. There is even a small contingent of fans that would have the Jets try Bryce Petty at the position.

Regardless of where you stand in the QB debate, it would appear that it is once again Smith’s job to lose this summer. Todd Bowles and Chan Gailey have both stated their support of the young signal caller. Many Jet fans aren’t very confident in Smith’s abilities, and have expressed displeasure with what they see as another year without a QB competition.

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Bottom line though, Smith will be the starter of this football team come Week 1, unless he self destructs this summer. The young signal caller will get the majority of reps with the first team offense throughout camp and the preseason. It is his job to lose as the success of the Jets sits squarely on his shoulders.

Gailey arrived in New York this past off season, and with him he brought his spread offense. It is a similar system in which Smith thrived in during his college days at West Virginia. Gailey has a reputation as a quarterback guru and it is the hope of the organization that he can settle Smith down and allow him to become an efficient QB.

There are some very good reasons why Smith could thrive under Gailey’s new offense. The first and likely the most important one is that Smith is comfortable in the system and has confidence in his abilities to run it. All it takes is a look back at his collegiate success in the spread offense to become enthusiastic about Smith’s chances this year.

While at West Virginia, Smith played in both the Big East and the Big 12, with West Virginia making the move to the Big 12 before Smith’s senior season. Smith proved he could run the West Virginia spread offense very efficiently. He finished up his 4 year college career with a 67.4 passing percentage. He ran the offense with confidence, efficiency and he produced results.

In the 44 games Smith played in college, he produced 98 TD’s to 21 interceptions. He finished up at West Virginia with 11,662 yards of passing offense which provided Smith with a 153.4 QB efficiency rating. It becomes quickly apparent that the spread offense lends itself very well to Smith’s skill-set.

May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) gets ready to take the snap from New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is around the corner and all eyes will be on Smith. As fans, we can expect the usual comparisons of the two QB’s on a daily basis. We’re going to see the analysts make a big deal over every interception that is thrown in camp. Some of the media outlets will likely try to turn this into a controversy before the summer is done. The media is going to scrutinize every move Smith makes this year as I’m expecting much of that scrutiny will come in the form of criticism, the media is seldom kind to the Jets.

That being said, I think that fans have reasons to be optimistic about Smith’s chances this summer. The Jets don’t need to get a Peyton Manning type season out of Smith to be successful this year. They just need him to be efficient. In Smith’s senior season, he put up a 71.2 passing percentage as the Jets surely could use that type of season this year. In his senior season running a spread offense, Smith threw for 4,205 yards and amassed 42 TD’s against just 6 interceptions. There are good reasons to be optimistic that Smith can do well in Gailey’s system.

Smith is also going into his third season as a starter. The first two seasons haven’t been pretty, but let’s face it, the Jets didn’t give Smith very much to succeed with. His coaching under David Lee was questionable at best, as Lee had little success developing Smith’s game. The Jets also provided few weapons to work with, the wide receiver corps has been a turn style for the Jets the last several years. Familiarity between a QB and WR goes a long way to making both look good.

The Jets have set the table for Smith to succeed this season.  The Jets have weapons seemingly every where on offense for Smith to utilize. The combination of Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, and Jeremy Kerley is enough to make any QB more confident. In addition, the Jets have provided a deep threat in the form of rookie Devin Smith. Behind him the Jets have provided a solid run game led once again by Chris Ivory. Tight end promises to provide Smith with even more options with Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland returning.

Beyond the weapons, the Jets have provided Smith with a new coaching staff. Gailey and QB Coach Kevin Patullo will look to settle Smith down and get efficient QB play from him. Gailey seems to have a knack of getting just enough out of a QB to make his systems work. Gailey has also earned himself a bit of a reputation as putting players in a position to thrive as his experience should aid Smith.

Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles against the Denver Broncos during the third quarter of their NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Jets 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The weapons are here. The coaching staff is here. A system that Smith thrived in the past is here. All the things Smith needs to succeed have been provided. Now it is up to Smith to take that next step and prove his critics wrong. How successful this team is in 2015 depends on it.

All things point to Smith having a very successful season for the Jets this year. It’s up to him to seize the opportunity, starting in training camp. There will be no excuses for Smith this season. General manager Mike Maccagnan has given him everything possible to win plenty of football games this year. It will be a make or break season for sure and I like Smith’s odds of succeeding.

What are your thoughts about Smith’s chances of turning his game around this season? Will Gailey’s new offensive system provide him with the confidence to succeed? The Jet Press wants to hear your opinions so please, leave us a comment and as always, Let’s Talk Jet Football!!

Next: New York Jets: Darrelle Revis considered retirement after 2012

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