Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks on during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Jets 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
In 2013, the NY Jets took Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft with the 39th overall pick. At the time, everyone expected that to be a good move for the Jets. Unfortunately, it turned into anything but a good move.
Smith had a good first season in the NFL. After finishing 6-10 in 2012, Smith led the Jets to an 8-8 season. In 2014, the Jets as a team finished 4-12, but he improved statistically. His completion percentage went up and his turnovers went down.
On the surface, that would seem like he was a success, but after getting punched by IK Enemkpali and losing his starting job, most people deem it a failed experiment. There are many factors as to why someone succeeds or fails.
Let’s take a look as to the top five reasons why Smith failed in New York.
Next: 5. Offensive line
Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets left guard Brian Winters (67) against the Miami Dolphins in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
5. Offensive line
The offensive line was in shambles for two seasons. On 2013 and 2014, they allowed the quarterback to get hit the seventh most times in the NFL and they also allowed the sixth most sacks.
A young quarterback can’t be expected to develop at the same speed as the ones considered top-level given this circumstance. On top of this, going into the draft, Smith was expected to be a project.
Despite all this, he was able to show improvement. With that said, he could be a late bloomer as well, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick, once he got some good talent around him.
Next: 4. Less than adequate wide receivers
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
4. Less than adequate wide receivers
John Idzik signed Eric Decker to a five-year, $36.25M contract. He was expected to be the number one receiver for Smith.
We have subsequently realized that Decker isn’t a number one option. Also, it ended up being Decker or bust in the passing game, because the other receivers weren’t really in spots to succeed, because of Decker being the number one.
That led to all of the other receivers being used where they shouldn’t be. This led to people not being open.
As we saw this season, the Jets also didn’t have a viable receiving threat at tight end. That hurt Smith’s growth because he didn’t have that security blanket.
Next: 3. He did it to himself
Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Jets 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
3. He did it to himself
Smith kept himself back by making too many dumb mistakes on the football field. He allowed constant pressure to get to him.
The constant pressure allowed by the line also was a key factor. Many experts talk about an internal clock, and Smith allowed the constant pressure he faced to speed that up.
He seemed to be more reluctant than most young quarterbacks when it comes to using his athletic ability. He averaged 4.6 yards per run in 2013 and 2014, and he should’ve been able to take advantage of that more often on passing downs when plays broke down.
If he did so, his running ability could have helped the receivers get open. The threat of the run would help the receivers get open because defenders might uncover their receivers.
Next: 2. Bad Coaching
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
2. Bad Coaching
It has become clear that Rex Ryan is not a good head coach. It’s also clear that he probably ruined what could have been a good career.
Ryan didn’t put Smith in a good position to succeed. His offensive staff didn’t either.
During his first two seasons as head coach , Ryan led the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games, but he has since proven that to be a fluke. The fact that he is ruining another team shows that he’s not a good head coach.
With that said, with the Jets, Smith failed thanks also in part it to the person above Ryan. That will lead us to the final reason.
Next: 1. It starts at the top
Jul 25, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik talks to media during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
1. It starts at the top
Like most businesses, there’s a trickle down effect in sports too. When the general manager makes bad moves or doesn’t make substantial enough moves, it makes the head coach and team look bad.
Idzik was hired by the Jets because of his success in Seattle. Idzik wasn’t able to evaluate how talent could fit together.
The offensive line was a mess and the receivers as a group weren’t great either. That can’t possibly help the growth of any quarterback, regardless who it is.
Idzik strapped Ryan with a bad team. He also left Smith with talent around him in places they shouldn’t have been. This is easily why Smith regressed as a quarterback and gets the bad rep that he does.