Geno Smith was one of the tougher quarterbacks to assess in the previous draft class. Through seven weeks of football action, it appears the New York Jets got a steal when they took Smith in the second round. The Jets also made a questionable decision when deciding Smith would be the team’s starting quarterback Week 1, but that is another move that clearly has paid off for an improving Jets team.
Smith was able to lead the Jets to a default win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. However, Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills was when the rookie showed he was for real, as he led his team past another team on the rise, who was also the only team to draft a quarterback with him still on the board. Although he ended with two interceptions, Smith outplayed EJ Manuel that afternoon, as the Jets’ rookie threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, compared to the 243 and one touchdown Manuel finished with.
Smith once again confirmed that he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback in the Jets’ most recent game against the New England Patriots, as he led the Jets to an overtime win against their premier division rival. Smith already has complete trust of the coaching staff, as he attempted 10 passes 21 yards or further down the field, and even impressed throwing the ball along the right sideline at a distance greater than 10 yards.
Smith showed off his great arm strength on Sunday, as he not only threw the ball down the field with ease, but had plenty of zip on shorter passes as well. Although he finished the game completing just 17 of his 33 pass attempts, Jets receivers finished with three drops in the game and a few long completions were brought back by penalties as well. Smith doesn’t even look like a rookie quarterback at times, and even though the Jets are 4-3, they won’t be taken as serious contenders until they have a reliable run game.
The Jets have been adamant to run the ball at times this year, despite their backs averaging less than four yards per carry and their offensive line being one of the worst run blocking units in the league. This has forced Smith to be relied upon to carry the offense, which is a challenge he has shown to be capable of at times this season. If he can just become more consistent in doing so, he will turn into a star soon enough.
One area where Smith has struggled, which may come as a surprise, is his ability to throw the ball accurately while on the run. Against the Patriots, the Jets called for numerous bootlegs to the right, most of which ended in downright terrible throws from Smith. Whether it was leading the receiver too much or simply throwing the ball too low, Smith had a hard time completing short passes to the right while on the run, and given his mobility, this is an area where he should focus on improving going forward.
Smith has already shown that his arm talent is NFL-ready, but the rookie quarterback must work on his consistency and poise in the pocket in order to become one of the next big stars in the NFL. The future is bright, however, for a Jets team many thought would struggle. In order for the success to continue, the Jets must surround their new quarterback with more offensive weapons.