Despite a rookie season that can only be classified as subpar, Geno Smith appears ready to move past his disastrous neophyte campaign. The New York Jets added a considerable amount of talent to the roster this offseason, and that talent should help Smith find a more consistent rhythm in 2014. Going into his second NFL season, Smith appears poised to enjoy a breakout season.
Considered to be the best QB available in the 2013 NFL Draft by many observers, Smith surprisingly fell into the draft’s second second round where he was eventually picked up by the Jets. Unfortunately for Smith, the Jets failed to add quality talent around him, and as a result, he struggled mightily as a starter. Chris Ivory, Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow just didn’t provide the type of supporting cast that a rookie QB like Smith needed to thrive. That said, the team made it a point to add more talent to the offense this offseason, and that alone will help mold Smith into an effective starter.
The free agent pickups of Eric Decker and Chris Johnson were great moves, but when the team also drafted Jace Amaro and Shaq Evans, it took the offense to the next level. Decker gives Smith the type of reliable weapon he lacked throughout his rookie season, while Johnson and Evans provide great playmaking potential. Throw in a receiving tight end like Amaro, and it’s easy to see just how improved Smith’s supporting cast is.
Not to mention, with a year of experience under his belt, Smith has learned what it takes to make it in the NFL. Whereas last year Smith was just a raw rookie thrust into a role he clearly wasn’t ready for, this season is a different story entirely. Like we saw last year with Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, sometimes all it takes is a year of experience for young QBs to really take it to the next level.
All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Smith and the Jets. With a better supporting cast around him and some experience under his belt, Smith is ready for a breakout in his second season, and that bodes well for both his and the Jets’ long-term fortunes.