New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith is still learning the NFL game, and it showed in a big way Sunday. Smith threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles in the Jets’ blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, and his mistakes were the biggest reason the Jets fell to 2-2. 28 of the Titans’ 38 points came as a direct result of Smith’s turnovers.
Things got off to a bad start when Smith threw a pick on the second play of the game. It was a ball that should never have been thrown, and it was yet another interception for Smith off a deep ball. He underthrew Stephen Hill while leading him into the safety, causing Alterraun Verner to have an easy pick while Michael Griffin leveled Hill, knocking him out of the game with a concussion.
Things didn’t get any better from there. Smith fumbled while running for a first down and foolishly holding the ball out away from his body, leading to an easy strip. His second pick came on a throw to Santonio Holmes that had no chance of being completed, as Verner had blanket coverage. Smith forced the ball in, and he paid a price.
The final turnover will draw ridicule for a long time, as Smith inexplicably tried to change hands behind his back while being dragged down at his own 1-yard line. Unsurprisingly, he fumbled and the Titans recovered for a touchdown.
Smith’s performance was brutal, he he described himself as “piss poor” for the game. Smith now leads the NFL with 11 turnovers through four games, and his mistakes are the biggest reason the Jets have lost twice.
However, the Jets need to stick with Smith despite his struggles. For starters, he gives by the team by far the best chance to win. Matt Simms is not going to come in and suddenly lead the team to victory, and the people calling for him to start need to settle down. The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town, but there is no way Simms gives the Jets a better chance to win.
Smith has flashed his potential as a passer, and the Jets have moved the ball far better with him under center than they have the last two seasons. He is the quarterback of the future, and the Jets have to have the patience to let him develop. Most rookie quarterbacks struggle, and as I’ve written many times, comparing Smith to last year’s breakout group is a big mistake. He will learn in time, but the Jets need to give him that time.
Smith still has a lot to learn, and he will continue to make mistakes. However, the Jets need to ride the roller coaster this season and let him learn, and they will come out better for it on the other side. Smith has a lot of potential, and if the Jets want to develop it then they must be patient with their young QB and let him learn from his mistakes.