New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has digressed since coming off a Week 10 bye. After a big win in Week 9 against the New Orleans Saints — the reason why they won is because they kept it out of Smith’s hands — the Jets came out flat two weeks later against the Buffalo Bills, and the main reason was Smith’s turnovers.
The Jets’ destiny walks hand in hand with Smith’s performance, and that can’t be good. The rookie quarterback has taken his team and its fans on a roller coaster ride; his performances are so Jekyll and Hyde, and it’s hurting his team. Yes, the Jets have overachieved, but they need someone behind center that can be consistent. Smith has put the Jets in some good positions with his big-play capabilities, but he has hurt his team more.
Against the Saints, the Jets were smart to take it out of Smith’s hands and control the game with the run game. In that game, Smith threw the ball only 19 times and completed eight of those passes for 115 yards. On Sunday against the Bills, they let him throw more, and it turned out to be a disaster. The Bills hounded Smith all day and it rattled him; Smith completed only 34 percent of his passes (8-of-23) for 103 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
With today’s turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble), that brings Smith’s total to 20 turnovers (including four pick-sixes) in 10 games compared to only 11 touchdowns produced (eight through the air and three on the ground) — one touchdown and eight interceptions in his last five games. So, what’s up with Smith? He holds on to the ball too long and he drops back to far back, but, at the same time, Smith’s mistakes aren’t completely his fault: Smith also has to deal with pass protection problems and a lack of playmakers.
In a playoff-push, and with Rex Ryan coaching to save his job, the Jets can’t live with his rookie mistakes. It’s apparent that Smith’s confidence isn’t there, so the Jets need to put him on a short-leash and make him a game manager, ala Mark Sanchez. It’s ugly, but if the Jets are serious about making the playoffs, it needs to be done.