COMMENTARY | It's been a while since the New York Jets had a quarterback that could lead them to football glory -- the last quarterback to do so was Joe Namath, and that was over four decades ago. The team was close with Vinny Testaverde; had a chance with Brett Favre until he suffered a torn bicep late in the 2008 season, and thought they finally landed that franchise quarterback when they drafted Mark Sanchez in the 2009 NFL Draft. Sanchez gave the Jets hope when he led the team to back-to-back AFC championships in his first two seasons (with a lot of help from the defense and the run game), but then, well ... we know the rest.
The Jets grew tired of the turnover-prone quarterback, so they drafted a quarterback in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Enter Geno Smith.
The Jets drafted the quarterback out of West Virginia with hopes that he would become the new golden boy that could lead them to the promise land, but after a very up-and-down season, those hopes may be gone. Smith's rookie campaign had its fair share of encouraging moments, especially over the final four weeks of the season. But at the same time, we also witnessed a lot of boneheaded mistakes that reminded fans of Mark Sanchez.
So where does Geno Smith stand?
Geno Smith did show some positives: the quarterback finished his rookie season throwing for 3,046 yards and 12 touchdowns; Smith also made some plays with his legs, rushing for 366 yards and six touchdowns. He is a big, athletic quarterback with a cannon for an arm, and is capable of making big plays down the field. Smith also did some damage on the ground, and should start using them more next season to get out of trouble, or to make plays. Smith also showed that he can be cool under pressure when he engineered four game-winning drives.
Some negatives: Smith was responsible for 28 turnovers (21 interceptions and seven fumbles), and some of his interceptions were taken back for touchdowns. The quarterback was inconsistent at times, and was off rhythm, completing only 55 percent of his passes. Throughout the season, it was evident that the rookie quarterback was struggling to read defenses, which of course led to his turnovers. His timing isn't down yet, and was not in sync with his receivers; he often held the ball too long or dropped too far back in the pocket, which disrupted the timing with his receivers. Despite having a strong arm, Smith has trouble being consistent with his accuracy, and far too many times has locked on to one receiver and tried to force passes.
It was known that Smith's game was flawed. He came out of a simplified, one-read offense in college, so it was obvious that it wasn't going to be an easy transition for him. It didn't help that the Jets didn't provide Smith with any weapons on offense, or that the offensive line didn't provide him with consistent pass protection, but overall there were a lot of mistakes made.
Things may be different in 2014, though. With money to spend, the Jets may finally provide its quarterback with some playmakers. And with one season under his belt, and the opportunity to work this entire offseason with Marty Mornhinweg and quarterback coach David Lee to familiarize himself more with the playbook, and work on his timing and footwork, Smith has the chance to capitalize and show the Jets organization he's the one they've been looking for. Question is, will he do it?
If the Jets are serious about being contenders, and want to have some consistency, they provide Smith with offensive weapons and see what he can do with it. If they're not happy with what they see, then they re-evaluate him next offseason.
(All stats via ESPN)
Jonathan Peralta is a proud New Yorker that has been covering the New York Jets and the NFL on various sports websites the past few years. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, the Star-Ledger, Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports Yardbarker. For sports news and updates, follow @itsJPeralta on Twitter.
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