Monday Night Football on October 7, 2013 was the high point of Geno Smith’s season. He was 16/20 for 199 yards with three touchdowns and more importantly had zero turnovers against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. It was considered by many the game where Geno finally started to click and would take the leap to the next level. Before that game he had four touchdowns and eight interceptions and looked like he finally started to get rid of the turnover bug that has plagued him before that. However the opposite has been true, instead Geno’s numbers have started to get worse and a regression looked to have happened. Since the Falcons game he has completed 48.3% of his passes with just one touchdown and eight interceptions. What is worst is his YPA declined from 8.26 in the first five games to 5.44 in the last five. This is an odd turn for any QB and especially for a young QB who was making such strides and looked to be the QB to get rid of the bad taste of Mark Sanchez in the Jets organization. However it looks more like Geno Smith is Mark Sanchez reborn.
The key to these struggles is Geno’s decision making has been bad. Even in the first five games Geno was a turnover bug but it was mitigated by his ability to make enough good decisions to get the ball into the end zone. This struggle has shown with Geno’s inability to make the right read and instead force it to the other team. The recent example of this was against the Bills when in the 2nd quarter on his own 12 yard line. The Bills only rushed five and the protection was fine, instead Geno had his eyes glued on his receiver (Jeff Cumberland) and safety Jairus Byrd had an easy pick. His second interception was more of the same in the 3rd quarter where with good protection, remained glued on his receiver (Santonio Holmes) and threw it straight to Byrd. That is twice where instead of reading through his progressions and finding the open man or even checking down, stared down at his first receiver and forced it and resulted into a turnover. This has been a common theme where Geno would force the ball into coverage or make a bad throw. He has to get better at reading defenses and looking through his progressions or else he won’t be starting in the league much longer.
Even with the bad there is still some positives when it comes to Geno. He is not afraid to take shots down the field and really stretches the field when he connects. He shown some mobility and the ability to make plays with his field, as he has three rushing touchdowns so far in the season. He has also been able to do this without any receivers that most wouldn’t consider above average. Even with his bad plays his team is 5-5 and he is able to get bailed out by a great Jets defense. Also he is just a rookie and other rookie QBs have had the turnover bug. Peyton Manning threw 28 INTs his rookie year and last year Andrew Luck threw had 18. Both of those trimmed their numbers greatly as Peyton only threw 15 his second year and so far Luck only has six. This gives the Jets hope that he might get better next year with another offseason under his belt.
Geno has been a hard QB to read this year. For every good play he makes, there is three bad ones. When he is bad, he is really bad, so bad that he is the worst QB in the NFL. This is not something the Jets hoped for when they drafted him high in the 2nd Round. They envisioned more of a game manager that can make the plays when needed and rely on the defense and running game. If the Jets decide to have Geno be their QB next year which they should, I believe it takes three years to properly evaluate a QB, some changes need to be made. If Rex Ryan is the coach next year, instead of focusing on defense the 2014 draft needs to be focused mainly on offense. The Jets need some receivers, not one but many and a TE too. To make Geno good, he needs receivers that can bail him out when he makes a bad throw and make plays when he makes the good throws. If they do that, the bad numbers (turnovers) will go down and the good numbers (touchdowns) will go up. Geno has been really bad so far this year but there is still time for him to right the ship and be the guy the Jets have so desperately needed.
Written by ArcherNoles