New York Jets: Top 5 reasons Geno Smith gets second chance
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks to throw a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The quarterback position of the New York Jets is still one big question mark heading into next season. If Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t return, Geno Smith might very well get his second chance at being a starter again in 2016.
At this point in time, the Jets and Fitzpatrick are still nowhere near coming to terms on a new deal to bring him back next season. It’s growing to be a very frustrating experience as due to the retirement of offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, they were able to add about $9M in salary cap space this offseason. The Jets, as per Mike Florio of NBC Sports, have reportedly even offered more money in hopes from the extra finances added in hopes of enticing him to return but they’re still far apart.
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By the looks of things, Fitzpatrick will more than likely not return next season with the Jets. It’s to the point where they should give him a deadline to get a definitive answer so they can move on to their main strategy heading into the 2016 NFL Draft.
Many scenarios can happen with what the Jets will ultimately plan to do at quarterback for next season. Bryce Petty isn’t ready as he’s still a year or two away from being able to compete for the starting job and then there’s the big elephant in the room with another certain quarterback who has an inconsistent history with the team.
Could Geno Smith actually be given a second chance to lead the Jets in 2016? Here are the top five reasons why this scenario might very well happen come next season.
Next: 5. An inexpensive option under center
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) stands behind center against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
5. An inexpensive option under center
In the grand scheme of things, it’s all about money. Entering the final year of his original rookie contract, Smith is the most inexpensive option under center that has a few years of starter experience that could benefit the Jets. Compared to other options via free agency, he knows the system better than anyone and would be ready to earn a spot again if the Jets run another competition during training camp.
Before his immature incident last summer that saw his jaw get broken thanks to owing a teammate money he owed, Smith actually was the leading candidate to be the Jets’ starting quarterback as he earned it at the time. There is no telling if he would have replicated or even exceeded what Fitzpatrick did last season if he was still the starter entering the regular season last year.
The Jets wouldn’t have to spend a crazy amount of money to bring in another veteran option or even pull off some kind of blockbuster trade come draft day to land one of the top quarterbacks available. They could put Smith in a position to earn it again if they had another competition.
It would make sense for the Jets to have another competition between Smith, Petty and perhaps another drafted player to have the best person win. If Smith performed like he did last summer during training camp, he could surprise many yet again.
Next: 4. A year away from the spotlight
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) drops back to pass against the New England Patriots in the first quarter during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
4. A year away from the spotlight
It’s no secret that his first few years as the starter for the Jets, Smith was absolutely terrible. He looked confused on the field, made terrible decisions and was literally an interception machine. It’s not easy playing in the city that never sleeps as he learned the hard way that everything he did was under a microscope in the media capital of the world.
Perhaps his immature altercation last offseason was a blessing in disguise. Maybe the year away from the spotlight benefited him to finally learn the game from the sideline. There is a high chance he probably even learned a thing or two from the magical season Fitzpatrick posted for the Jets.
During his time away from the spotlight, Smith undoubtedly learned a valuable lesson in everything. He’s still only 25-years-old and while he should have known better than to let that altercation spiral out of control, he could have been humbled through the experience to bounce back from it all.
Time away from an extremely stressful situation can revitalize you to come back even stronger than ever before. This might very well apply to Smith entering his fourth NFL season.
Next: 3. Smith continues to hone his craft
Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) enters the field before a game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
3. Smith continues to hone his craft
Smith has proven to the masses that he’s not exactly the best starter to hit the NFL but no one can’t question the passion he has to at least want to get better. Even with the immature altercation he was involved in last year, he hasn’t stopped trying to hone his craft this offseason. Here’s what ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweeted about what he’s been up to as of late:
I’ve been told Geno Smith is working w/ QB guru Tom House again this offseason. We’ll see what 2016 brings. #Jets https://t.co/gGjyVYwaUk
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 10, 2016
House is a very respected quarterback mentor that has helped numerous troubled quarterbacks come back from lacking the skills, execution and confidence to take care of business. He’s been putting in the hard work to prove to the football world that if he’s given a second chance to start, he should be better than what was seen in the past.
At the end of it all, if Fitzpatrick doesn’t return and the Jets decide to draft another quarterback in the middle or later rounds of this year’s draft, there is no doubt Smith should be able to beat them all this summer straight to being their next starter. Working with House can only solidify his skill-set to finally take his game to the next level.
Next: 2. A simplified offensive system
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass under pressure by Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) and defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second half at Ford Field. Bills beat the Jets 38-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
2. A simplified offensive system
If it’s one thing to know about the offensive playbook of the Jets is that coordinator Chan Gailey is a guru at simplifying everything so it’s easy to understand and execute. It’s a spread offense which is what Smith thrived in at West Virginia during his collegiate career.
Smith knows this kind of system very well and would undoubtedly be very comfortable in a system catered to his strengths. He never had someone like Gailey that could elevate his game by having specifically designed plays that he can be confident in to deliver.
With his good arm strength and ability to be a dual-threat kind of quarterback, there is no telling what Smith could do after a year away from the spotlight and an experience that should have humbled him. The new leadership regime of the Jets have no idea what he’s capable of so it’s the best time to see if he can indeed be the franchise quarterback they’ve been looking for since Joe Namath.
The jury is still out if he can be a consistent and efficient starting quarterback but since it’s his last year under contract, it’s the best way to finally see what he can do now with a much better situation around him. Especially with an offensive system he should be able to bring immediate results with.
Next: 1. One incredible supporting cast
oDec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrate Marshall
1. One incredible supporting cast
Throughout his tenure with the Jets, one thing that Smith lacked was a true supporting cast. Truth of the matter is when he was thrown to the wolves too soon, he had a terrible receiving corps, an inconsistent offensive line and was under a leadership regime fighting to keep their jobs while making all sorts of mistakes.
One can only imagine what Smith could do with Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and all the other great additions the Jets made so far these past two years. With an incredible supporting cast this time around, Smith could really push the envelope next season once and for all with his skill-set.
Smith has never had the right coaching, players or system that put him in a position to succeed. Perhaps we all got him wrong when we first saw him under center as he could only do so much with the talent and coaching that was around him. There’s something special about Gailey, general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles that speaks of integrity, respect and having everyone believe in their overall vision of the Jets.
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Fitzpatrick might not be back, the Jets might draft another quarterback who may not even be ready to start and Petty still needs more time to develop. Sometimes one can only hope that maybe, just maybe, this all leads to Smith finally being able to be in a much better system and be the franchise quarterback everyone wanted him to be. He never got to develop in a traditional way but last year could have been what he needed to finally put everything together. 2016 could very well be his second chance to prove once and for all that he can be the impact player the Jets need for long-term success at quarterback.