May 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
For the New York Jets, quarterback Geno Smith might be their only hope in having decent play from the most important position on the team. Here are five reasons why he deserves a chance to shine.
The New York Jets are stuck in a bad position, in many opinions. Some are saying they’re “stuck” using Geno Smith this season (as of now).
Most people think the season is pretty much over, but Smith should be given a chance to be bad with this team before we say his career is destined to the role of a backup. He’s been given a bad rap for his performance in 2014.
It was his second season, and he was still learning how to be an NFL quarterback. The league caught up to him, and he wasn’t able to adjust, but that doesn’t mean he can’t grow and get better.
Even though he showed slight improvement in terms of turnovers from 2013 to 2014, there are some things that can explain his poor play over his first two seasons.
Without further ado, here are the top five reasons why he deserves a chance to prove his worth once and for all.
Next: 5. Rex Ryan was a terrible head coach
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
5. Rex Ryan was a terrible head coach
Ever since 2010, Rex Ryan has proved to be an awful head coach. He actually proved it in 2011, but for some reason he was given a second chance in Buffalo, and he proved what we’ve already known.
Ryan had a great thing in New York. All he had to do was maintain his philosophy, but he saw something in quarterback Mark Sanchez that made him abolish the ground and pound and try to air it out.
He destroyed Sanchez’s career in doing so, and they had to draft Smith in 2013. Despite not having the greatest team around him and having 25 turnovers, the team was still 8-8, and things were looking up.
His completion percentage and touchdowns went up and his turnovers went down in 2014, but he was 4-10 as a starter. Instead of blaming the young quarterback who was still growing, maybe it’s about time to put the blame where it belongs.
Next: 4. It truly was John Idzik's fault
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
4. It truly was John Idzik’s fault
After further examination, John Idzik’s main job seemed to be to get the Jets out of salary cap purgatory in his second season. However, if he had shown he was good enough to build a team in his first season, maybe Woody Johnson would’ve given him more responsibility than to be a lame duck general manager.
He never put a team around Smith the caliber of the one the Jets currently have, and he constantly got hit and sacked over two seasons. That could have had a negative effect on his career.
He tried by signing wide receiver Eric Decker, but he was clearly not a No. 1 receiver, and he had to be used that way. It became clear early that Idzik couldn’t do his job.
That’s why the Jets finished 4-12, and Idzik got fired. More of the blame can be on the coach and general manager than the player in this situation.
Next: 3. Mixed expectations from the start
3. Mixed expectations from the start
NFL.com gave Smith a grade of 88 going into the 2013 NFL Draft. According to them that grade means:
"An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter)."
However, in their final evaluation, there could one major red flag. In his senior season, Smith started to continuously stare down his primary target. That led him to go from Heisman front-runner to just another quarterback with big numbers.
It seemed like even the scouts had mixed expectations, and that proved itself out in his first two seasons. Jets fans rode the roller coaster with Smith, and it wasn’t fun.
Next: 2. The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement
May 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
2. The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement
During the negotiations for the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the players got less work time to save their bodies for life after football. However, they didn’t see the negative side on their careers.
People know you really win in how you prepare for a footballgame. So, less practice time, especially in the offseason, means less preparation. Less preparation leads to sloppy play from everyone.
Previously stated, Smith was a project to begin with. This combined with limited practice time hampered the young quarterback’s growth.
This means we need to be more patient with any young quarterback, especially those who are projected as projects. There will be a longer growth period for all players, especially quarterbacks.
Next: 1. The third quarterback rule
May 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Bryce Petty (9) and Geno Smith (7) during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
1. The third quarterback rule
From 1991 through 2010, teams could carry three quarterbacks on the roster, and the designated third quarterback wouldn’t count against the team’s roster limit. That could allow a team to have a third quarterback who’s a veteran and teach a young quarterback who needs to learn.
In 2011, the NFL put an end to that rule. This hampers the growth of young quarterbacks in the grand scheme of things. Smith was drafted two years after this rule ended, and he shows us how much the change affected young players.
That means now young quarterbacks are getting thrown into the fire too quickly, basically out of necessity. That’s hampers their growth, not only from a physical standpoint, but a mental one as well.
Despite an 8-8 season in his rookie season, Smith took a huge number of hits and sacks in his first season. This could have put him in a poor mental state.
In conclusion, with all of this knowledge, Smith deserves a shot if Fitzpatrick doesn’t re-sign. We shouldn’t go into the season thinking it’s already lost. If we think a Ryan Fitzpatrick can go from 33-55-1 to 10-6, and we expect good things from him at his age, then Smith can do the same at age 25/26.
He hasn’t gotten a chance to prove his worth as a quarterback with a team as good as the Jets have now. (By the way, that’s the same thing pundits say about Ryan Fitzpatrick prior to last season.) If he’s bad with this team, he’s a bad quarterback, but at least give him a chance to actually be bad before we say the season is over just because he might start.