The New York Jets suffered a tough 30-20 defeat to the Carolina Panthers yesterday, and the loss effectively ended their chances at the playoffs. While the playoffs were always a long shot, the Jets were hoping to see something from quarterback Geno Smith that would give them an indication about whether or not he is the quarterback of the future.
Unfortunately, the Jets learned very little about their young quarterback yesterday. Smith completed 15/28 passes for 167 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT, adding 6 rushes for 44 yards. Smith was unfortunate to see his receivers drop a couple balls, and he faced a strong pass rush throughout the game. The interception came on a very poor decision, as Smith forced the ball into double coverage. However, he bounced back and led a late touchdown drive, although it really didn’t do anything other than make the score look better.
There was nothing in this performance to help determine whether or not Smith should be the Jets’ quarterback heading into next season. On one hand, he played a decent game against one of the best defenses in the NFL. On the other, the passing attack was yet again the weak point of the offense, and Smith’s turnover problems continued.
The Jets play home against the Cleveland Browns and at the Miami Dolphins to end the season, and they will be looking for Smith to make some major strides in those games. Both the Browns and Dolphins have been solid against the pass this season, so Smith will be facing a good challenge. Most importantly, the Jets want to see their young quarterback make better decisions and protect the football. Smith’s turnover problems are much more related to decision making issues rather than accuracy, so improvement in that area is essential.
Right now, the Jets still aren’t quite sure what they have in Smith. The last two games are big opportunity for him to step up and prove that the Jets can feel comfortable moving forward with him as their quarterback. As things currently stand, the Jets will have no choice but to bring in some competition for Smith this offseason. Smith has a chance to prove that isn’t necessary, and he needs to take advantage of it.