It’s becoming more and more apparent that Geno Smith is the best option for the New York Jets as their third quarterback on for 2017.
The New York Jets should have an open competition for starting quarterback in 2017 training camp and preseason. Let’s weigh the evidence for this:
- Colin Kaepernick has regressed substantially since Jim Harbaugh left San Francisco
- Jay Cutler is a “me guy”
- Geno Smith was injured last season, and we don’t know what he could’ve been
With all that said, there is actually one piece of evidence that many people fail to look at when examining the man who is currently a former Jets quarterback. Despite the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best season of his career in 2015, Smith actually beat him out for the role of starter.
After getting punched by linebacker IK Enemkpali, Smith ended up sitting behind Fitzpatrick for the entire season, despite the fact he was deemed better by the coaching staff. So, could he have performed even better than Fitzpatrick?
We will never know the answer to that question. Obviously, the coaching staff thought he was better. Had it not been for the punch, Smith would’ve been the starter on opening Sunday.
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Smith actually improved in many categories from 2013-14. His completion percentage went from 55.8% to 59.7%. His interceptions went from 21 to 13, and touchdowns went from 12 to 13. The only thing that went the wrong way was the team’s record, which went from 8-8 to 4-12, and that was more indicative of the team around Smith than Smith’s actual performance.
After year two, it was clearly bad luck that befell Smith. First, he was punched in the face, and Fitzpatrick didn’t relinquish the job. Second, he replaced an inefficient Fitzpatrick and tore his ACL.
In 2015, when Fitzpatrick was fighting for his job, in the Jets’ first eight games, he completed 61.8% of his passes and threw seven interceptions. In the second half of the season (after his job was secure), even though he threw more touchdowns, his completion percentage was 57.8% of his passes and eight interceptions.
According to many outlets, including Connor Hughes of USA Today’s Jets Wire and NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, even ESPN’s Ron Jaworski thinks Fitzpatrick should’ve thrown more than the 15 interceptions than he actually threw in 2015:
The Jets were willing to give Fitzpatrick $12M. In addition, the Jets are on the hook for $5M this season.
How good or bad is Smith? The answer actually is that we don’t know. Give him a shot on a one-year deal. If he wins the jobs, we will get to see if he’s actually capable of being a starting NFL quarterback.