New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith is still adjusting to life in the NFL. It sure isn’t easy, especially with all the outside of the field issues that have been keeping his name on headlines even though the NFL season ended months ago for the Jets. The incident that came out of nowhere involving Smith and the Los Angeles International Airport was a wrong way to start the offseason. Basically after the entire situation went viral all across the internet, both sides released their official press releases basically calling it a minor incident that occurred on the plane. Apologies were issued and everyone has moved on from it.
It probably surprised Smith as to how quickly news spread across the sports community to which he realized things are much different now in the NFL than they were in West Virginia. Most players who transition from college football to the professional football scene tend to have reality hit them hard in the face when things go wrong outside the football field. To play in New York, the biggest sports venue in the world, is not easy. Everything he does on and off the field will be watched, so perhaps it was a good wake-up call to chalk up the airline incident as experience. It’s also apparent Smith had some altercations with a female in his personal life which doesn’t need to be discussed here since, once again, this is another valuable lesson learned regarding relationships when you’re a sports star. In life it’s true that your mistakes can define you and your career if you’re not careful. Sometimes you just have to stick with being free of distractions and focusing on the big picture. In this case, the big picture for Smith is to ensure he has a better upcoming season than what he contributed last year.
Last season, Smith had a decent year given the cards he was dealt considering he was a rookie and inherited a team that belonged to quarterback Mark Sanchez. With Sanchez out of the picture right before the start of last season due to injury, Smith was catapulted into the starting role and did the best he could. With the learning curve set extremely high to understand playbooks, offensive schemes and how to pick apart defenses, Smith had an up and down experience. With great performances against the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, Smith showed he had potential in the NFL. However, with the good usually comes the bad, and in this case it came by the way of interceptions. Smith threw 21 of them last season much to the dismay of fans everywhere.
As a rookie, you are given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to turnovers, so it makes sense going into an offseason that’s the first thing you work on. A few days ago, Smith took it upon himself to check in at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Florida to attend a special offseason workout program designed to improve his quarterback skills. The main person who runs that program is none other than Chris Weinke, the Director of Football Operations.
Weinke, who spent seven seasons in the NFL, is mostly remembered for his tenure with the Carolina Panthers. While he wasn’t considered a prolific quarterback in the NFL, he decided after his playing days were over to be a guru of the game. He teamed up with legendary head coach John Madden to make a comprehensive football training program that instills the basics and fundamentals to achieve success. Too many times last season, Smith looked confused on the field and seemed to make wrong decisions when it came to his passes. Now, with private sessions with Weinke, it will be sure to improve his mechanics to hone his strengths and limit his turnovers. These private sessions indeed work as back in 2011, quarterback Cam Newton attended them and look at the major success he’s been having lately. Getting a head start before the official Jets offseason program begins is a great way to keep your mind focused and let newer headlines show you’re in it for all the right reasons — especially if one of those reasons is to finally bring another championship to New York to make everyone forget about 1969.