BGA: Digging deeper into Geno and the Shotgun

Yesterday on TJB, Bassett posted a link to an interesting article by the Star Ledger’s Michael Fensom. Fensom wrote about adjustments that Marty Mornhinweg made to the offense over the last month of the season that contributed to the improved success for the offense as a whole and Geno Smith individually.

The part that caught my attention was this:

…one noticeable adjustment over the season’s concluding month was the Jets operated quite a lot out of the shotgun formation.

There’s no question that the Jets did operate out of the shotgun a lot over the last month of the season and that Smith showed some progress in such situations. However, did it really represent an adjustment that one could attribute Smith’s improvements to? We analyze in more detail after the jump.

How often did the Jets pass out of the shotgun?

I’m going to start by giving consideration not to the total number of shotgun snaps, but limiting my focus specifically to when Smith actually passed the ball. I’ll discuss running the ball from the shotgun later on.

The easiest way to evaluate this is to isolate the numbers for when Smith was under center but still threw the ball. All information is compiled from NFL data, so any inaccuracies are theirs, not mine and for the sake of consistency I’ve removed any plays that ended up being negated by a penalty from the data. If Fensom’s perception that the Jets helped Smith by getting him to work out of the shotgun more over the last month, you’d expect to see a reduction in the number of times he threw from under center.

However, this was not the case. Over the first four games, he threw 30 times from under center. This dropped to 15 over the next four games, then 14 for the next four. Over the last four games, this rose up to 21 again. So, actually Fensom is wrong and the Jets passed less out of the shotgun over that last month? Actually, that’s not correct either.

During that last four games, Smith threw 116 passes. However, in the previous four, he had only thrown 74 due to a combination of the Jets paring back their passing game and the fact that he was benched twice. Therefore, as a percentage, he was throwing from the shotgun about the same amount over the last four games as he had while struggling during the previous four.

Looking back to earlier in the season, this is actually where there was a clear increase in how often he worked out of the shotgun from the first four games to the next four, which didn’t see him make any on-field improvements. There’s one outlier in there, as Smith actually passed from under center 11 times in the first game, more than in any other game all year and well above his average (five times per game).

One final point to note about those last four games is that the number of times he threw from under center did show some signs of reduction. It was six in week 14 and eight in week 15, but only four in week 16 and three in week 17. That still wasn’t less than earlier in the year though – Smith had three or fewer passes from under center in six of the first 12 games. In addition, the fact that there was an above average number of attempts from under center in weeks 14 and 15 would appear to suggest that the assumption more shotgun was a factor in Smith’s improvements is an over-simplification at best.

How often do teams generally pass out of the shotgun?

These numbers are slightly meaningless without context, so I ran the numbers for this weekend’s playoff games to see how they compare with the teams that played this week. As you might expect, five pass attempts per game from under center seems to fall within the bounds of normality.

Alex Smith – 15
Kaepernick – 12
Brees – 11
Foles, Dalton – 4
Rodgers, Rivers – 3
Luck – 1

It’s perhaps not surprising that two run-heavy teams in San Francisco and Kansas City passed out of the shotgun more than the rest, but it’s more of a surprise to see Drew Brees up there. That may have been gameplan specific, though, because the Eagles are weak against the run. At the other end of the scale, you can see that most of the quarterbacks passed from under center about the same as Smith over those last couple of games. Clearly the Colts use the shotgun almost all the time.

Success when passing from the shotgun

When we talk about Smith operating more out of the shotgun and seeing more success as a result, we’re really talking about eliminating those under-center plays where he might not be as comfortable or might struggle to see the field. The effect of this is two-fold. Not only are you removing plays where he might be statistically efficient and therefore improving his numbers overall, you’re also perhaps helping him to get into a better rhythm. The downside could be that the offense becomes more one dimensional and predictable, but at the same time, if you pass from under center less, then those plays in isolation perhaps have more chance of being successful.

When passing from under center, Smith completed just 40-of-80 passes for 414 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. That’s a quarterback rating of just 47.6. On that basis, eradicating such plays from the playbook perhaps would have had a positive effect upon his numbers. From the shotgun, Smith had a quarterback rating of over 70 during the season, a modest improvement on his 66.5 final rating. If he was operating solely out of the shotgun, would we see improvements of this order (perhaps further augmented by the rhythm factor mentioned above) or would the increased predictability of the offense outweigh this?

Over that last month, Smith’s numbers while passing from under center were not so bad. He had a quarterback rating of 60.8 having had a quarterback rating of just 9.8 in the previous four games when passing from under center. We’re getting into small sample sizes here though. For what it’s worth, from games five to eight – where we’ve identified that there was an unsuccessful shift towards more shotgun – his rating while passing from under center was just under 70, lending weight to the “less is more” theory noted earlier.

It gets even more interesting when you consider the outlier mentioned earlier where he passed a season-high 11 times from under center in week one. In that game, he actually went 9-of-11 for 77 yards and a touchdown. He did also have an interception, but that was easily the most success he had passing from under center all year and rather than build on this, the Jets opted to go away from having him pass from under center as the year went on. The result, of course, was that he saw less success when he did that. Removing that first game from the numbers when passing from under center drops his rating down to just 40.5. So maybe less isn’t more.

Clearly passing from under center was something they placed an emphasis on during the offseason and also in that first game they were perhaps trying to capitalize on the fact that maybe the Bucs wouldn’t be expecting him to pass in those situations. If this was something that he needed to work at, obviously he would need to reinforce that work over the course of the season and with the Jets shifting towards more shotgun over the rest of the first half of the year, perhaps this had an adverse affect on Smith’s development by not enabling him to continue to work at that aspect as much as he perhaps needed to.

In order to place these numbers in the proper context, we can look at the difference between quarterback ratings and the ratings when in the shotgun for other players around the league. For many of them, these two numbers will be close. That’s not just a sign of their overall consistency, but also a sign that many quarterbacks operate primarily from the shotgun and therefore their overall rating shouldn’t differ too significantly from their rating when in the shotgun. Luck, for example, has an 87.0 overall rating and an 86.9 rating when in the shotgun.

First, let’s consider those quarterbacks whose overall rating is markedly better than their shotgun rating. The overall ratings for Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton are all about five points higher overall than when in the shotgun. Maybe this is because those three are more effective with play-action. Let’s come back to that thought later.

Now, let’s consider which quarterbacks were better in the shotgun and saw their overall rating reduced by their passing from under center. The biggest discrepancies belong to the likes of Robert Griffin, Kellen Clemens and Colin Kaepernick. Clemens’ rating was almost ten points higher than his overall average when passing from the shotgun, but maybe this is just a product of the fact that the Rams were trailing a lot and therefore went into the hurry-up against some soft zone and prevent defenses. Kaepernick, of course, comes from an offense where a bigger discrepancy is less surprising because they do have more plays where they pass from run formations. He continued to struggle more when under center on Sunday though, completing just four of 12 passes for 47 yards and a pick (Alex Smith was the most effective when under center this weekend – 11-of-15 for 180 yards). As for Griffin, a point worth noting is that NFL data doesn’t differentiate between shotgun and pistol, so all those plays would be included within the shotgun data.

Back to Smith. We can see that there are some other examples of players that seem to do better when throwing from the shotgun and obviously their coaches will be weighing up how best to overcome this (including simply throwing from the shotgun more), just like the Jets will.

Play-action passing

One might expect there to be a correlation between the numbers when throwing from under center and in play-action. If you’re lined up in a run formation, but end up throwing the ball, that’s something we would naturally associate with play-action passing. However, once again this may be an over-simplification.

Many teams run play-action from the shotgun just as much as they do from under center. In fact, there is less of a need to make a play-action fake when you’re in a run formation, because you’re likely to have already affected the alignment of the defense before the ball is snapped.

I’ve often thought that those quarterbacks who are inexperienced at operating from under center would struggle with play-action in particular because you usually have to turn away from looking downfield and then look up and make a read. From the shotgun, at least the quarterback can keep his head up and read the field more easily before and after the fake. I’ve theorized in the past that this is why Brian Schottenheimer seemed to favor shotgun sets in short yardage situations while Mark Sanchez was his quarterback (although this doesn’t explain his propensity for empty backfields).

Let’s go back to my previous comment that perhaps the improvements in overall rating as against rating in the shotgun for Wilson, Manning and Newton could be attributed to play-action. If that theory were correct, then each of them would have a higher rating when making a play-action fake than when not making a fake. Sure enough, based on data from PFF they all have significantly better numbers on play-action passes than non-play-action. Wilson’s rating is 17 points better, Manning’s is almost 30 points better and Newton’s is even more than that.

It gets even more interesting when we look at 2012’s numbers, though.

Starting with Newton, he had a 109.4 rating on play-action passes, much better than his rating for non-play-action (75.4). So far, so good. Manning also shows some improvement, albeit not quite so pronounced (108.8 as against 104.8). Wilson, however, actually had a better rating on non-play-action passes (102.6 as against 95.0). Clearly, therefore, it’s not always that simple and maybe this is a sign of where Wilson has grown this year and the next logical step for Smith if he wants to get better.

How about Smith this year, though? His quarterback rating was 68.2 on non-play-action passes but just below 60 on play-action throws. It would seem that this is somewhere he needs to improve, but the discrepancy is not as big as that between shotgun and non-shotgun. The sample size is slightly more – he threw 98 play-action passes and made a play-fake 22.4% of the time, the 12th most in the league.

Aside from Smith, the only other quarterbacks with a lower rating on non-play-action passes were Cutler, Roethlisberger and Griffin, all three of whom also had a better rating from the shotgun than when under center, so there does seem to be some correlation.

Running from the shotgun

Earlier on, I admitted that I was restricting my analysis to actual passes from the shotgun (or, more accurately, not from the shotgun). However, Fensom’s article (and Bassett’s focus) talked about the Jets operating more out of the shotgun, not just Smith passing from the shotgun. Could it be that they were in the shotgun more and although the percentage of throws that were shotgun throws didn’t really change, this was reflected in more runs from the shotgun formation? Then, taking that one step further, is there any reason that this would help Smith? Maybe it could in terms of helping him to stay in rhythm and read the defense better over a series of plays, but there’s nothing tangible or obvious.

Looking at the final game of the season, the Jets ran the ball a surprising 33 times from the shotgun in that game. They only had 42 carries in total, although the 33 runs noted above does incorporate penalties this time. That would seem to represent a significant increase from earlier in the season. If we go back to a run-heavy game (36 carries) from earlier in the year – the Saints game – then they only ran 18 times from the shotgun in that game. There was one significant factor in that last game though and that’s Chris Ivory’s injury. Maybe the Jets simply have more shotgun packages for Bilal Powell, who ended up being the lead back in that game, and more under center packages for Ivory. Sure enough, if we look back to the previous week against the Browns, when Ivory was available, the Jets had 39 carries, but only ran 20 times from the shotgun. Again this would suggest that if they were running more from the shotgun over that last month, it’s perhaps not as pronounced as you might think.

Another factor at the end of the season was that Smith ran the ball more, which was also acknowledged by Fensom in his article. While I’ve included these in the run-from-the-shotgun data in the above paragraph, some of these would have been designed as pass plays with Smith making the decision to take off. That being the case, perhaps we can account for a slight uptick in the amount of shotgun pass plays dialed up over the last month and should also factor some of Smith’s running statistics into any evaluation of the improvements he made as a passer.

Does it matter?

If Smith is struggling to be as effective when operating from under center, couldn’t the Jets just give consideration to getting him to operate almost exclusively from the shotgun?

While this works well for Luck and others, there are limitations. Marty Mornhinweg runs a complex offense which has multiple formations, personnel groupings and different variations of plays. A play like the sprint draw, a Mornhinweg running-game staple, simply wouldn’t be as effective if you moved the quarterback into the backfield. That would affect all variations of that play, including tendency busting passes. You can’t therefore just make the adjustment of moving the quarterback into the backfield unless you stop running certain plays, which removes some of the benefits of having a complex offense in the first place. Only passing from the shotgun and running the ball every time when the quarterback is under center isn’t a long-term option either (although it’s evident they did this at times). That would make the play selection too obvious for the opposing defense, even if you broke tendency from time to time.

Mornhinweg has shown a willingness to tweak his offenses based on personnel in the past – running the ball more often at times this year and employing fullbacks to varying degrees over the years, dependent on his team’s personnel strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps he would give consideration to running a consecutive series of plays from the shotgun in order to get the benefit of Smith finding a rhythm, without compromising the effectiveness of the running game or increasing how predictable the offense is.

To what else can we attribute any improvements?

So, having reached the conclusion that any adjustment to operate more out of the shotgun was perhaps not as significant as first thought, but at the same time acknowledged that this is still likely a factor in his improvements over the last month, what were the other factors?

Down the stretch, I identified improvements in Smith’s decision making and decisiveness, but also his pocket presence, confidence and consistency. While all of those are things that could be improved through him having a better comfort level within the offense, I’d also attribute them to the personnel around him. There was a marked difference in how much he trusted his receivers, which manifested himself in some well timed throws, whereas the same timing patterns would almost always be thrown late earlier in the season, with Smith unwilling to release the pass until after his receiver had made his break. His pocket presence was likely helped out by the Jets tweaking their protection schemes over the last month and Brian Winters finally starting to find his feet.

You also have to give some credit to David Lee. While Mornhinweg, the offensive line settling down and the return of the injured players may have made Smith’s job easier for him, he still had to do that job well. While his technique was still inconsistent at times, he did show progress throughout the year and it will be interesting to see if he develops faster with a full offseason to refine that.

Conclusions

Sometimes the media will oversimplify things based on gut feel or, just as bad, by relying on statistics that they fail to place within the correct context. Some fans do this too, often when the article in question does give consideration to all the factors. I also don’t doubt that there are coaches and maybe even players around the league that are guilty of doing the same thing.

Adjusting to more shotgun sets alone didn’t magically turn Geno Smith into the solid quarterback we saw over the last month of the season. If it were that simple, we’d have seen improvements from him when they did that (to a more pronounced degree) after the first four weeks of the season. We’d also know for certain that he could remain at that level and develop from there if they continued with that approach in 2014. Of course, there could well still be ups and downs in store for Smith in the years ahead. He might not even end up as the starter next year.

Whatever the reasons, there were improvements over the last month and Jets fans will be hoping Smith can pick up where he left off.




85 comments
UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

Nice article Bent!  " Whatever the reasons, there were improvements over the last month and Jets fans will be hoping Smith can pick up where he left off." This is what I am going on. A raw rookie thrown into the fire from a simple college offense with no weapons around him, and he still came on at the end with 3/4 wins and much better decision making with many less turnovers speaks volumes. With another year under his belt and a real offense to work with, I do believe we will see a substantial jump! Ariba! Go Geno!!!!!

Rex Reyanson
Rex Reyanson

it seems to me the essay  only briefly mentioned the actual MAJOR factor - in mid season the Jets were playing receivers who were barely on the team a week, had no real practice time. G.Salas anyone ? in addition to which Winters wasn't ready replacing Ducasse.

I hope the Jets sign TWO receivers in Free agency ( I think they have the $ - saving half the $ 40 or $50 mill for renegotiation, Wilk to start) I want Maclin ( assuming the knee is a one time injury, not series)  & Sanders. - rookies are still : rookies.


then, it looks now like at 18 there won't be a top playmaker avail so O' line is also needed.  Then in the 2 nd rnd a big receiver of which it seems there will be  a handfull- or T.E.

oh, of course, I'm all in on G.S., I don't even want to split practice time in Aug.  IF he can't do it, we'll know in Nov. and the Jets will have a fairly high draft pick.

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

Bent - Some of your best work ever (and that's saying something)

bldsgrnNwht
bldsgrnNwht

Bent:

Taking everything you said into account above, I was just wondering how the Falcons game falls into all of this. For some reason that game popped up in my head time and time again as I was reading and I cant for the life remember if there was more shotgun than under center for him that night or why that was the game that keep coming into my thoughts. 

I am pretty sure the last drive 90% shotgun.....

I am not sure why I keep thinking about this game when I read this analysis.....



Previously:

 

BleedsGreen&White

pcjs
pcjs

Some thoughts:

1.) I don't want to follow what I remember as the Tannenbaum quote of drafting a QB every year. Especially in the later rounds, and then not developing them.

2.) Unlike Sanchez, we got Geno "on the cheap" as far as QB's, so we can move on more easily if necessary.

3.) It is rare that any QB is perfect right out of the gate without bad games or seasons

4.) There is no doubt that our wide receiver, tight end, and pass catching RBs have not been elite. (However, I really like Kerley, but then again I thought not using Cotchery was a shame too.)

5.) So, if the right BPA QB falls to us, of course we should draft them (just as I agreed with Geno in the 2nd Round). Just don't see one falling to us with "starter" potential early in the draft (doesn't mean it won't happen -- we've seen some weird drafts!)

6.) During some of the games, I certainly wanted Geno pulled earlier (for a variety of reasons). Doesn't mean I still don't think he could (emphasis, here) be our franchise QB.

7.) With our draft position (damn Jets winning those last 2 games caused a major draft shift), initially I don't see who we can draft in the first round (though there are some intriguing flyers in the later rounds), so you have to pencil in Geno as our starting QB next year unless something really weird happens to Sanchez (he agrees to the vet minimum to stay?).

8.) Unless someone special on defense falls, the Jets seem to be in a good spot to draft a wide receiver or tight end to help the offense in Round 1 without any moves.

9.) I think if they want a tight end (but not a specific one, they could even trade down to get the player they want).

10.) I'm excited to see Geno play next year, something I couldn't say mid-season.

maynardfan
maynardfan

Bent -- Cormartie recently said Geno "stays late". Do your sources confirm that Geno is studying any harder than Sanchez or any other typical rookie QB?

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Excellent write-up, but the bottom line to me is there are so many variables within a game that it's almost impossible to draw concrete conclusions wrt Geno (small sample size) and the specific plays that are most effective using the shotgun. The variables range from overall strength, strategy, blocking techniques and individual players talents on both offense and defense to the peculiarities of a particular game (i.e., timeouts, penalties on specific down and distance, play calls, field position, score in 1st > 4th Qtr, field & weather conditions, player availability, strength of running game, QB's ability to play fake - screen - move in the pocket - scramble - QB sneak etc,) The list of variables is infinite.


That being said, the fact that more teams are using the shotgun in the high scoring QB driven NFL of today seems to be the trend until defenses (or rules) evolve to necessitate the ongoing evolution of the sport. 

WRT MM & Geno specifically, it will be interesting to see just how much MM will be able to adjust his sets to accommodate Geno w/o becoming predictable over the long haul b/c I'm convinced that Geno (baring injury) will start every game next year and maybe the next 2-3. For I remember that Idzik asked Garrard (who can't play) to return next year and it was Garrard who refused. That's a clear indication that within Jets management circle, they are committed to Geno as the starter despite what they say publicly. Let's just hope Geno doesn't turn out to be Sanchez 4 Year Experiment Revisited.

juunit
juunit

I wouldn't think the Colts actually do pass out of the shotgun all that often. Their need for a comeback from the very first minutes of the game undoubtedly contributed to those numbers. 


My other thought: if Smith doesn't pass from under center very often, and we don't run from the shotgun very often, we're making the offense unnecessarily predictable.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

a57s and Brendan with the top comments on the PFF D Rookie of the Year article well done fellas

Stanley Bostitch
Stanley Bostitch

Bent, you're good. Thanks. Your data-driven brand of journalism would fit well with what Nate Silver is building at the upcoming 538.

Jim Israel
Jim Israel

Geno Smith's got to become more accurate with his passes. Isn't every successful QB an accurate passer. The problem is that it's my sense that accuracy is not something that gets much better with experience. Accuracy doesn't change. I may be wrong about that, but I don't think so. All this voluminous analysis about shot-gun, under-center, % of this and % of that is worthless unless Geno Smith's accuracy improves.


And I have my doubts.

Bent
Bent moderator

@bldsgrnNwht It fits in interestingly because it was after that first four games from which point the shotgun usage picked up.  It's also interesting because that was a four game swing where he played pretty poorly on the whole but that was one of his best games all year.


That last drive was all shotgun, yes, but that's less of a tactical ploy that simply the fact that they were in the hurry-up and most teams operate out of the gun when they go no-huddle.


In that particular game, he was 2-of-3 for 48 yards and a score when throwing from under center.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@pcjs

8) If we want a WR, TE or OL unless the player is an immediate starter who played in a Pro-style O, fall back a couple of spots and get extra picks


10) Hope you can say that after year 2.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@maynardfanWe heard the same thing repeatedly said about Sanchez until it came out years later that it was bogus. Some of us picked up on it earlier when after year two Rex would say something like "he's working hard now" or " to get better this year." If he's always been a hard worker since Day 1, you don;t need the "now." Instead, you would say he's STILL working hard.

Bent
Bent moderator

@maynardfan Not heard anything either way to be honest.

a57se
a57se

@frustjetfn 

Agreed on Geno probably starting all of 2014 and maybe another year after that........

SackDance99
SackDance99

@juunitI think you're right, but the question is how often does Luck pass out of run formations?  My guess is that he passes a lot less than he hands off and he also runs a lot himself.  I don't think there's a game where Luck passes out of run formations more than he does the shotgun.


I think Smith does hand off from the shotgun, just not that often to Ivory.  I think that was Bent's point.

Brendan
Brendan

@MarshRandy I just think it's a little odd that the guy who lead the entire season didn't win, I don't really care, though. PFF was one of the reasons Sheldon got buzz early on because his high PFF grades helped highlight the fact he was playing better than people realized. Then the media hopped on board and by midseason the rest of the media had caught up. 


So, I can't kill the guys who helped create the buzz in the first place over a fake award. 

a57se
a57se

@Stanley Bostitch 

What is the 538?

What is a baseball guy like Silver building ?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Jim IsraelStatistics would overwhelmingly prove you wrong.  Just for an example, Eli Manning's completion percentage was 48.2% his rookie season and 52.8% in his second.  By his 5th season he got to the 60% plateau, the year AFTER he won a Super Bowl.


Andrew Luck was at 54.1% last year and is now at the 60% plateau.  I think if the QB wasn't ever accurate in college and had a rookie season under 55%, I might be concerned.  But, I'd say Geno's first season is roughly where you'd expect a rookie out of a non-pro style college system to be.  Now, if he isn't 60% next season, I'd be concerned.

a57se
a57se

@Jim Israel 

Join the one man "Jets fan who doubts Geno will ever improve enough" Club but be prepared to get ripped for it.

juunit
juunit

@SackDance99@juunit 

Which probably doesn't matter too much, since defenses already know Ivory is one-dimensional. 

I'm not sure of the numbers on the Colts offense. But, I wouldn't jump to conclusions either. They've really tried to establish a power run game this season. Richardson just hasn't been up for the challenge. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se Isn't that the politics guy who turned his methods to sports (or was it the other way round)?

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99@Jim Israel 

Eli has a career 58.5% completion percentage.

If that is the bar you have for your QB, fine.....Geno may reach that one day and still be a turnover machine like Eli......

Bent
Bent moderator

@SackDance99 @Jim Israel His percentage is okay for a rookie, but like Sanchez before him, I do think he could improve his placement on some of the routine completions he does make.  That'll boost his YPA.


He was hitting guys in stride better by the end of the year though, so fingers crossed.

JCuratola3
JCuratola3

You were writing him on after 2 pre season games. No qb comes out and wins a Super Bowl sorry this isn't a video game.

juunit
juunit

@SackDance99@juunit 

Yeah, you are definitely in the minority on Sparano.

We agree on Schotty though. There is something about that entire family that just doesn't understand coaching. I know you'll say Marty was solid, but he got constantly outcoached in the playoffs. Until Sunday, I thought he'd cursed the entire city of San Diego. 

juunit
juunit

@Bent@SackDance99@juunit 

The Ginger Giraffe isn't very good so he'll have his work cut out for him. Beyond that, my only other thought is: "Sparano? BOOOOOOOO!"

Bent
Bent moderator

@SackDance99 @juunit Slightly OT but ICYMI Sparano is bolting Oakland to join the Bucs staff.  That staff is looking intriguing.  Lovie HC Frasier DC Sparano (I assume) OL but most interesting of all is Tedford OC.  How will the guy who has never coached in the NFL, and mentored Aaron Rodgers but until then seemed to mentor a bunch of top prospects that all busted out at the pro level fare in his big league debut?


Anyone have thoughts/reactions on that?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@juunit@SackDance99Schotty's offense was a disaster.  I'm in the minority because I thought Sparano's offense would've worked with better QB play.  But, Schotty's system is guaranteed to make the QB look bad.  Too many passes downfield, not enough use of the TE or RBs in the passing game and an unwillingness to stick with the running game (going under center) when it's working.


For instance, Jared Cook, who was the Rams' big free agent signing, had his best game (with 7 receptions, 141 yards and 2 TDs) in his first game.  You'd think that defenses would have gotten a steady dose of him over the next 15 games...you'd be wrong.  He only got 44 receptions in his last 15 games.  Mind boggling.


He just doesn't know how to maximize the talent given to him.

juunit
juunit

@SackDance99@juunit 

I dunno. I always felt like with Schotty we were constantly passing out of run personnel. 

It was like, "Hey, it's 3rd & 8. Now let's put in a TE and a FB who can't catch, then try and convert here. Hooray me!"

SackDance99
SackDance99

@juunit@SackDance99I don't disagree.  It's just what would be the expectation from Luck as a passer in run formations?  Like any QB, he'd have to mix in some passes to prevent 8 in the box, but I'd expect him to go to shotgun when the down and distance dictated pass.  Also, most offenses have different personnel groupings with their RBs, so with Donald Brown, you'd expect the shotgun, except when the game situation (like a 4th quarter lead) dictates running, I'd expect run formations with maybe some safe checkdown passes (unless the WR was wide open downfield) mixed in.


Overall, I think the whole "passing under center" meme is overblown.  Geno looked comfortable under center and, like most QBs, he'd hand off the vast majority of times anyhow.  With experience and better talent, maybe he could make play action a weapon.  In any event, there are times when going under center, even to pass, is warranted and we all want Geno to be as well-rounded as possible in order to give the coaches the most flexibility in game-planning.  Whether he goes under center or is in shotgun, we all want accurate passes that result in points.  Whichever way achieves the goal of scoring TDs, I'm all for.

pcjs
pcjs

@Stanley Bostitch@pcjs@Bent@a57se 

True, but I am talking about the "secret sauce". What is the composition of next year's electorate? In 2004, about 12 million voters voted over the previous election, in 2012 about 4 million fewer voters voted than the previous election. Those results were not predicted. The total number of voters in 2012 was about the same as in 2004 (so the % of voters decreased due to increase population). He has done either a great analytical job (or an informed guess) on which polls are "good data" and which ones are "garbage data" on who is going to go to the polls. My hat is currently off to him -- but I expect to put it back on my head eventually.

Stanley Bostitch
Stanley Bostitch

@pcjs @Stanley Bostitch @Bent @a57se Not to stay OT too long, but Silver uses an aggregation model, and doesn't do his own polling. So there is in some ways no "mean" to return to. He's just re-presenting other data; granted, he has his own secret sauce/formula that accounts for things like house effects, lean, and so forth, but end of day it's good data in, good data out.

pcjs
pcjs

@Stanley Bostitch@Bent@a57seThere is no doubt Nate Silver has been accurate. The question is, will he return to the mean like most high flying mutual fund advisors, or does he truly have a competitive advantage in his methods. Only time will tell...

Stanley Bostitch
Stanley Bostitch

@Bent @a57se He's the poker guy-turned baseball guy-turned politics guy. Created a site for the 2008 elections, 538.com, to create aggregate polls-of-polls with forecasts that have been more accurate than anyone for two cycles now. Licensed 538 to the NYT for a few years, now moving to ESPN where he is creating the next "Grantland" focusing on data-driven journalism across politics, sports, and other areas. He's got a good book out too, if you're into data, called "The Signal and the Noise".

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se@haroldIn season, every loss and Geno was a bum; every victory and Geno was the new franchise.  I was positive on Geno from what I saw the first weekend at Cortland and never wavered.  You were negative on Geno from the time he was drafted and never wavered.  I just wonder what would change your mind?  Or, is it personal with you and no matter how successful Geno is, you'll hate him because you won't be right in your prediction that he's a bust?


I'll be the first one to dump on Geno if I feel that he cannot make NFL throws and is not progressing, like I dropped my support for Sanchez in late 2011.  At this point, all I can say is that Geno has looked better than any other Jets' rookie QB since I've been watching them.  Post-Namath, that's not a very high bar.  But, it's a start.

a57se
a57se

@Bytor@a57se@bklyndude@SackDance99@Jim Israel 

It would depend on who the QB was......obviously. i have already stated numerous times that i like David Fales in this years class. If we are going to shift more to a pistol/read option offense where we want a QB who can run, then Tajh Boyd should be on the radar as well.

I don't think we will end up getting a McCown/Hill type of guy into camp. Apparently the Jets were talking to Garrard about coming back for 2014 halfway through 2013......I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with Geno, Simms, Garrard and a late round pick or UDFA QB as our 4 guys going into OTA's.

a57se
a57se

@harold 

It is nice that you guys only want to look at the positive side of things, you are welcome to do that all you want. I would venture to guess that there have been more comments doing just that concerning Geno then the opposite.

You don't have the right to try and shut down any other opinions on the subject.


harold
harold

Then you missed the reason he was nominated 7 times for rookie of the week and how he also won the AFC player of the Week.  You watched the season but it seems you missed the story.

Rookie soars , crashes and then rises up again.  We need a lot of parts but 2nd in the NFL for total QBR over the last 4 games to Peyton I think is pretty good.

harold
harold

Great Post Sackdance99

That sums it up in a nutshell.  People believe what they want.  Fact Geno had a higher completion percentage than Andrew Luck did as a rookie.  Without a Reggie Wayne or T.Y. Hilton.  Not syaing he is Andrew Luck just don't be so quick to say he is a bum. 

Geno did several things never done in franchise history some good some bad.  But the eye test told me he had better rookie year than Sanchez.  It also showed me he has more upside.  I look at a QB who in all the games Kerley played looked like a potential solid starter in the NFL.

I love Kerley but he is not a top 50 WR in the NFL and just having soeone that good Geno was solid.  Kerley played all last year and we still gave Sanchez a pass.  Geno has talent and potential those are the facts.  history will tell the story.

Bytor
Bytor

@a57se @bklyndude @SackDance99 @Jim Israel Assuming we get a McCown/Hill type as the vet for insurance, what round are you drafting a QB? If one of your favorites fall to 18, do you pull the trigger? Do you wait until later rounds?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se@SackDance99@Jim IsraelNo, you spend the time making snarky comments about Geno.  I saw the same games, the same QB, the same throws, the same mistakes, etc.  It's just that I don't expect a rookie with the type of personnel the Jets had to put up average numbers.  Difference is, I look at those 8 rookie wins, especially the game in Miami, and I see promise, where you don't.

If the Jets are thinking of drafting a QB, then they're making a mistake.  If their board dictates a QB as BPA, then fine, but not for the first 5 rounds.  Signing a vet that can run a WCO is a much better hedge on Geno.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @bklyndude @SackDance99 @Jim Israel

I agree and I think they will  draft somebody later and hope to catch lightning in a bottle.

But constantly pointing out what Geno doesn't do well or can't do seems counter intuitive to being a Jets fan.  Maybe he can improve on some of those things.

a57se
a57se

@harold 

I don't disagree with your first sentence though I would not give it a high probability of occurring from what I have seen.

harold
harold

And Geno could end easily end up being better than all of them.  You didn't say much at all with that statement. 

I watched Andrew Luck last year and while his footwork and decivesness were ahead of Geno (minus Geno in the Falcons, 2nd Pats game and the last 4 games of the year).  The major difference between them statistically as rookies was called Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton.

a57se
a57se

@bklyndude@a57se@SackDance99@Jim Israel 

Look, all the QB's in the NFL and the upcoming draft have similar physical abilities, they wouldn't be in this position if they didn't. What separates them into Franchise QB's, Good QB's, all the way down to scrubs is what happens between the ears. 

We won't find anyone in the draft or free agency who is markedly better physically than Geno but then again, neither is Peyton Manning or Ton Brady. You could argue Geno is better physically then either of those guys because they can't run worth a darn.

It is very difficult to scout players and really get what goes on between the ears and that is why so many QB's taken high in the draft fail..........

IMHO, you keep on drafting guys until you find the guy you believe in. 


bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @bklyndude @SackDance99 @Jim Israel Hey if somebody drafted later turns out better then Geno.....great.

But if for some crazy reason they turn out to be no better than Geno,  where is the team as far their ever ending quest to find "The Guy"

a57se
a57se

@JCuratola3

i am tempted to tell you what you can do with yourself but that would just inspire the wrath of Bent the Moderator.

So all I will say is too bad if you don't like it, I will continue to post what I want.

You nor anyone else will stop people from freely expressing themselves so take your Nazi tactics elsewhere!

bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @bklyndude @SackDance99 @Jim Israel Well that's kind of the point.....there is no easy solution to finding an elite QB.  It doesn't mean you stop looking,  but not much sense drafting somebody similar to Geno in terms of ability.

So repeating your opinion that he sucks does what exactly.

I certainly don't see anybody worth trading up for in this draft,  and I'm sure they will draft somebody later,  but how much can you hope for from that pick.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @SackDance99 @Jim Israel OK....suppose your the GM of the Jets for one year,  how do you fix the QB spot going forward.

Which player do you stick your neck out for and make a move to fix the Jets. 

Your legacy as a GM will be based on this move.

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99@a57se@Jim Israel 

I am convinced Geno sucked this year and I don't spend the amount of time you obviously do trying to justify having a rosy outlook for Geno. I also will not compare him to Sanchez, Eli or anyone else as those comparisons are useless in evaluating where he is at. I have a very clear picture where he is at...........I don't know where he will end up but if I had any say in the matter, I would be planning on drafting a QB this year.

 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se@SackDance99@Jim IsraelThere you go again, I was just using Eli as an example and I hate it when you make me defend someone like Eli, who I think is just an average QB.  But, he is one with 2 SB rings and SB MVP trophies and the HOF is littered with QBs who, at one point in their careers, led the NFL in INTs.  And, fwiw, Peyton's rookie year he had a 56.7% completions and is now over 65% for his career and he improved his percentage each of his first 7 years as a pro, to over 67%.  So, maybe Peyton is the bar?  Point is that after 1 rookie season, it's impossible to know what kind of QB Geno will turn out to be, even though you're convinced that he sucks.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan@Jim IsraelI expect that Geno will work with a QB guru in the off-season.  Brady, for instance, worked his ass off between his rookie and second year to improve his mechanics and he goes to the same guy (Tom House?) every year.  I've heard Brady say that he has to constantly work on his mechanics and says to himself "left pocket" to make sure his throwing hand ends at his left pocket after every throw.  Geno seems to be a hard-working kid and judging from his improvement between OTAs and training camp, I'm optimistic that he'll use his off-season productively.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Jim Israel@BentOkay, my take on the difference between Sanchez and Geno is that I think the Nelson pass was a misfire by Geno that can be corrected and Geno has thrown many other passes that were spot on.  Sanchez was making those same type of errant throws as a 4th year pro, as well as, not reading defenses well, going through his progressions quick enough, and, generally, not passing accurately on the simple NFL throws.


Sanchez was spoon-fed, coddled and overhyped.  We saw that he had accuracy problems as a rookie, but we forget how raw his game was compared to Geno's.  Sanchez couldn't run well, couldn't complete screen passes, and was inaccurate on his short sideline routes.  Geno does all these things well.  Geno has to improve his throwing on the run and adjusting to the speed of the NFL, but it's hard for me to point out anything that Sanchez ever did as a QB that was flat out better than Geno, especially as a rookie.


We can't frame our experiences by Sanchez.  Geno is a different QB, in a different system, with different personnel.  His rookie performance was what you would expect from a rookie, except his INTs were too high, but he made significant improvements on overall ball security as the season progressed.


Do I think Geno is a surefire franchise QB?  No.  Do I think he can be a franchise QB?  Yes.  Would it be the best for the Jets franchise that a 2nd round QB ends up being a franchise QB?  Absolutely.  And, that's why the Jets front office will give Geno the benefit of the doubt next year...they will likely bring in a veteran for "competition" but I expect that the focus will be on getting better offensive talent to put around Geno or any QB that knows how to execute the WCO.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Jim Israel @Bent You never know sometimes.  If the depth of the receiver's route is one or two yards off or he gets bumped off course that can make a throw that went exactly where it was supposed to look inaccurate.


My take is that he was very inconsistent with his accuracy but slightly better by the end of the year, but there's some room for error.

Brendan
Brendan

@Jim Israel I am very interested to see what tweaks Lee/Marty make to Geno's mechanics this offseason. I assume they'll work to quicken his release, since it's a bit long. Footwork would be #2 on my list, just getting him used to setting and throwing quickly and realizing that he doesn't need to plant, step, and throw every time he wants to zip a quick pass out there. 


My hope with Geno is tied to the fact that he fought through a terrible stretch that would have potentially ruined a different QB (like Sanchez) and finished strong. Doing that here, in this media market, took some major league stones and that fortitude, coupled with his demeanor, gives me the impression that he has the personality to triumph here. 


So he has the make-up to succeed in NY, he has the talent to win as a QB, he needs to refine his skill and prove he can be a leader. 

a57se
a57se

@Jim Israel@Bent 

The difficulty is when the QB 'flashes'.......it is easy to get caught up in the 'Oh, he only needs more time to turn the flashes into consistent play'. The problem is most QB's DON'T. They all flash the ability at one time or another.......otherwise they wouldn't get a shot.

Jim Israel
Jim Israel

@Bent

I hope, Bent, your optimism triumphs.

Observing that front-corner end zone errant throw to Nelson in this past Miami game -- and I know I'm being anecdotal -- gave me pause. It reminded me so much of Sanchez. I wish fervently that Geno works out, but throws like that one -- and there were more than just a few during the season -- are just so disheartening. I wonder how long they're going to give Geno Smith : too little time could blow up in their faces and too much time could be a disaster as well. They -- Idzik, Ryan, et al -- are in a jam, I think, because everything rides on this decision. My guess is that they're not going to be particularly patient, not after all the time wasted with Sanchez. Yeah, I know, playoffs in the first two years, but the ultimate Sanchez decision -- stay with him as the #1 QB -- was a disaster.

JCuratola3
JCuratola3

@a57se You didnt write him off?!!!!! OK 57 lol ok. You and Marvel were begging for Simms and saying how awful Geno was. 


QBs need to be placed in a good system. Continuity and adding weapons will add to Genos success you dont give up on a rookie qb after 4 games let alone a season. 

a57se
a57se

@JCuratola3 

I have never written him off. I have never considered him to be worth the second round pick we spent on him either.

I have been very consistent on this despite some peoples attempts to make my comments out to be extreme on Geno.