The New York Jets got a steal when they selected Geno Smith 39th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. Smith’s size, mobility and arm strength make his upside nearly limitless. The Jets desperately need help at the quarterback position so it seems like a reasonable fit, but the Jets have a lot to lose with the way they handle their rookie quarterback in the upcoming season.
New York fans have been ready to get rid of Mark Sanchez since the team’s letdown season in 2011. The Jets’ offense has struggled to put up points, thus putting too much pressure on the defense to get stops. Rex Ryan‘s team has lost its identity and it’s searching for a new one. Smith could certainly be the answer for the future, but starting him this year could prove to be catastrophic for his confidence.
The reality is this: the Jets lack talent on offense. Dropped passes have plagued the receiving corps even through the simplest of training camp activities, and the backfield is suspect at best. It would be difficult for almost any quarterback in the league to make the Jets a high-powered offense at this point, so whether it’s Sanchez or Smith under center, it could be a tough year for the Jets. Why thrust Smith into a situation that could rattle his confidence?
The Jets need to be thinking long-term in dealing with Smith. For a team in rebuilding mode, having a talented young quarterback is an advantage. Yet, throwing Smith into a starting role too soon is the wrong move. When Smith steps onto the field for the first time, New York fans will be watching with high expectations. If things go downhill with Smith as the starter, he could lose confidence in himself and Jets fans could abandon him.
If anyone knows the difficulty of being a New York quarterback, it’s Mark Sanchez. The Jets need to give Sanchez one final year to prove himself before jumping the gun on Smith. If Sanchez fails, Smith will be ready to go in 2014 with a year of professional experience under his belt and a fresh opportunity to transform the Jets franchise.