Geno Smith was in the most talked about QB battle next to Johnny Manziel/Brian Hoyer this offseason and it wasn’t even a true battle.
Nonetheless, Smith must now fight to keep head coach Rex Ryan on his side with one-time NFL sensation Michael Vick looming in the shadows. First, let’s look at how Smith won the starting job this preseason.
Smith: 3 starts, 23-of-33 for 268 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 8 rush for 47 yards and TD, sacked 0 times
In all reality, Smith was the starter heading into the offseason as well as the preseason but, Rex being Rex, didn’t want to name a starter. That seal was finally lifted after Game 3 of the preseason despite the Jets first loss after two wins.
Now, Week 1 is coming closer and closer and Smith enters the season as a starter after leading the Jets to an 8-8 season a year ago. Trying to build on a rookie season in which he threw for 3,046 yards and 12 touchdowns, Smith has to limit turnovers and play to his ability, something the Jets quarterback coach has seen improve heading into the 2014 season.
““He’s had two hands on the ball, he’s working with two hands on the ball as he’s escaping the pocket and (he’s) moving and sliding. Just his ball security has been a gigantic (improvement),” QB coach David Lee told the Star-Ledger. “And that’ll be the biggest turnaround thing for us, if he just takes care of the ball and doesn’t get it knocked loose. So that’s a good observation. That’s the big thing he’s improved.”
While most may criticize his play last season, an 8-8 record with over 3,000 yards passing isn’t a bad start to a football career. But his 21 interceptions and seven fumbles were just the opposite of what you want out of a starting quarterback.
Although those numbers aren’t necessarily uncharacteristic of a rookie QB, they are to Smith who threw 21 interceptions in four years at WVU.
By season’s end in 2013, Smith had a 66.5 QB rating. Bettering that this season will surely lead to overall success and Smith showed glimpses of that a year ago.
In six games last season, the WVU signal caller had a QB rating of 80.0 or greater. But when you have four games of a sub-30.0 rating, that won’t help things much.
In all six of the aforementioned games, the Jets came away with a win, including three of the last four and a fabulous Monday Night Football showing against Atlanta. In those six wins, Smith went a combined 109-of-179 (60.1 %) for 1,409 yards and nine TDs to just four interceptions.
Smith has proved he has what it takes to win in the NFL, now he just needs to do it more consistently.