Leadership is viewed as a very important quality for NFL quarterbacks to possess. Teammates naturally depend on them to take control during difficult times. No matter what the level of football, there seems to be expectations that the signal caller will assume hands-on responsibility.
According to CBSSports.com West Virginia junior running back Dustin Garrison said, “Last year we didn’t have, you know, a lot of leadership.”
These words were immediately interpreted to be directed at least partially at New York Jets rookie Geno Smith. This signal caller totaled 98 touchdowns during his four years in college. However, the Mountaineers suffered five-consecutive losses to end their 2012 campaign. A dynamic passing attack including Smith along with now NFL receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey established great expectations. What followed was disappointment and a 7-6 finish. It appears that teammates hold their former quarterback somewhat accountability for such struggles.
His physical gifts are unquestionable. Smith stands at 6-foot-4 and has fantastic arm strength. League officials felt that maturity presented an issue leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft. Being selected at No. 39 overall surprised many who felt this player may have been the best quarterback prospect available. Jets head coach Rex Ryan recently took an opportunity to address the criticism.
“It tells me I’m glad my kid never went there,” Ryan said, per reports. “I don’t get that. Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia.”
There is nothing wrong with a coach defending his player. In fact, I feel the Jets should not worry about these opinions. Having such rah-rah personality may work in college, but it does not usually translate to professionals. Tim Tebow serves as an example of how this often becomes tuned out by grown men. As long as Smith shows up and performs well, he will earn respect over time.