BGA: Quarterbacks – A work in progress

Geno Smith’s numbers have settled down over the last couple of games. He’s now achieving mediocrity, which was all the Jets really needed from him all season if they were to remain competitive. Unfortunately, he had fallen well short of that too many times over the past few months. Smith was extremely inconsistent, but strung together some good scoring drives against an upper echelon defense. In fact, if you factor in strength of opponent, this was arguably one of his better performances of the year. Still, when mediocrity represents a high-water mark, you’re in a battle just to prove you’re not out of your depth.

It’s been apparent for a long time, possibly even since preseason, that Smith wasn’t ready to start at this level and I don’t think there’s any chance he’d have started every game if Mark Sanchez had been healthy. Maybe we saw enough positive flashes earlier in the season to be in denial about that for a while, but it’s telling that those positive signs started to dry up once teams had enough film on Smith and the Jets’ system to identify any weak points. However, as we enter the part of the season where offensive coordinators are prepared to throw the kitchen sink at their opponents, Smith has at least helped keep them in the last few games.

So, we look for positives, like, for example, some of the first down throws Smith made from the pocket, his eagerness to pick up safe yardage on the ground when nothing else was on and the fact he displayed enough consistency to lead two 70+ yard touchdown drives in the second half.

NFL: New York Jets at Carolina PanthersHowever, it’s the negatives that stick out. The most egregious of all was that he had no business trying to force the throw that was intercepted and returned for the game clinching touchdown, when he perhaps should have checked down to Bilal Powell, who at least would have had a chance of making a first down on third and long. There were several other bad misses though, as he threw behind a couple of receivers and showed some poor awareness in the pocket at times. He’s still not seeing the whole field as he continues to have a tendency to stare down his primary target too.

I’ll give Smith credit for one other thing: I was surprised to note that he’s only lost four fumbles all year. That’s not a number I was expecting to remain so low with the way he was protecting the ball earlier in the year. Having said that, he did almost lose one on one of the sacks yesterday.

The pocket presence is a major issue though. Defensive backs blitzing off the edge caused him problems all day and he seems to have issues both in terms of the pre-snap identification and recognition while actually in the pocket.

On Captain Munnerlyn’s sack that ended the Jets’ first drive, the Panthers had 11 players within eight yards of the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 7, but only three guys outside the tackle box on the left side to match up with the three Jets receivers bunched on that side. So when Munnerlyn blitzes from the slot, you should have an ideal hot-read situation.

The outside receiver, Santonio Holmes, ran a square-in just in front of the marker. The outside slot guy, Jeremy Kerley, ran a go-route and Jeff Cumberland started to break to the outside and then planted and ran a post pattern. The outside cornerback dropped off Holmes and picked up and ran with Kerley, so Holmes probably would have had an easy first down if Smith threw it to him as soon as he made his break. However, since he hesitated, that meant Holmes was breaking to the inside with a linebacker dropping off into that area from the right side. At the same time, the inside slot guy saw the danger and tried to jump that route, which effectively left Cumberland uncovered down the seam, although there was a safety dropping deep from the opposite side of the formation. That should have been an easy first down throw to either Holmes or Cumberland, but Cumberland didn’t look back for the ball early enough and Smith has been reluctant to make the throw in that situation all year. By hesitating and missing the chance to hit Holmes, Smith wasn’t ready to make that throw to Cumberland in time and he couldn’t evade Munnerlyn. Maybe Cumberland should have looked back for the ball sooner, but Smith still should have been able to lead him with a pass that would be on its way as Cumberland turned to look to the ball.

One other play underlined the fact that Smith sees things too late and then has to rush his throw, which causes his technique to let him down. Smith rolled out and threw deep to Saalim Hakim, who had a couple of steps on Munnerlyn down the right sideline. Unfortunately, the pass was wayward and sailed out of bounds, whereas an on-target throw would have produced a 63-yard touchdown. As Smith rolled out, he should have been able to get his eyes downfield earlier and set his feet or step into the throw. However, he saw the opportunity too late and his throw was off-balance on the run.

These small moments of indecision are things that could have been coached into him as the season was going along, but unfortunately, since he’s been prematurely forced into a starting role, he’s had too much on his plate just learning and operating the offensive scheme. Jets fans just have to hope this hasn’t stunted his overall development.

Let’s hope for more signs of mediocrity over the next few games. I think it would be optimistic to expect more than that.


Next up…the running backs, featuring an unlikely guest star racking up plenty of yards.




61 comments
BDarc23
BDarc23

Did Geno have the ball to Holmes on time on that bad drop or did he wait too long to throw it?

SackDance99
SackDance99

The worst part about the pick 6 was that if a QB is going to take a chance on a difficult pass, throw down the sidelines where there's single coverage, not in the teeth of the secondary.  But, for that INT, I thought Geno played a competent NFL game on the road against a good defense.  He still has to learn to plant when he scrambles outside as his passes tend to sail (like in the wayward bomb attempt to Hakim).  With that, I think the goat horns go on Santonio.  He had a bad drop early on a perfectly thrown out pattern (a throw that Sanchez had great difficulty with) and he had a year and a day to adjust to the redzone pass that went awry.  Geno has 2 more games left and I'm very curious to see whether he can play his 2 best games the next 2 games.

ryan5757
ryan5757

I was at the game. I was very impressed with Geno's second throw of the game (the comeback route to Holmes on 2nd & 8 which was dropped right before the above mentioned sack).  Geno threw the ball well before Holmes came out of his break and the ball was placed perfectly. Maybe it got on Holmes too quickly and he was surprised by it. Regardless, that was a horrible drop and you can't have that from your #1 receiver (or any NFL receiver). 

ww85
ww85

@jetfuel So Woody was happy with the way things were going last week & not happy this week against a top team? Big deal. Most analysts picked the Jets 3-4 wins this year. I'd love to see what coach could do better with this offensive group. Maybe 3 guys on offense would start on most NFL teams. Idzik forces Winters to start while Vlad who'd been showing improvement sits on the bench? Rex deserves to come back.

ww85
ww85

@jetfuel Yeah. It is a legit criticism of the guy, but he deserves to come back.

ww85
ww85

I think Simms should have been starting the last few games, just to see what he has & allow him to compete next year. I think this game is too fast for Geno right now & he'd benefit from the bench, but it's not fair to throw the guy under the bus either. It's pretty tough to judge any QB who hasn't even had a chance to practice with healthy receivers. Geno's balls are way off bc he doesnt trust these guys to be on their marks. I think we need to draft another QB & have a 3 way competition in camp/OTAs.

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

If Woody gets rid of Rex, he's throwing away one of the few talents on this team.

nyijkm
nyijkm

Geno also doesn't use his legs enough. the guy has wheels. Ray Lucas is ALWAYS talking about this on Jets Post Game Live. if Geno scrambled without hesitating or trying to throw on the run, he would have many successful drives. I don't understand why Geno refuses to be a mobile QB.

nyijkm
nyijkm

I don't see how we wouldn't benefit by him being a mobile QB. Geno has to work with the tools he has. Remember in the preseason when there were talks about running a pistol/read option offense? Why did we never even try to implement this, especially with guys like Kerley, Powell and Cribbs?

He is clearly not a pocket passer. Defenses would have to game plan around his running threat and it would open up windows for passing the same way it did for Tebow.

__fense
__fense

@a57se @jetfuel What was the issue with what he said? It was intelligent, logical argument that directly responded to what you were saying. It wasn't the same post 100 times or a link to an article that every knows was written only to get page views from people who don't like the Jets. He didn't attack anyone personally and there was only one sentence with a plethora of exclamation points, which is at least equivalent to random bold-ing words or using all caps. This is good joey, and I don't think it's fair to dismiss him when he makes a good point against what you're claiming.

C.B.Cooper
C.B.Cooper

All QBs make off target throws like that. Even the great ones. I'm more concerned about the pick. At least the throw to Hakim was the right read.

__fense
__fense

@a57se @ColinMeNames I think that's confirmation bias. If Tom Brady made that exact throw, people would assume that he intended to throw it away. I'd say the great ones average at least one a game. And 5 times vs 1 time isn't nearly an issue. He's a rookie QB, he's not going to compare favorably to great QBs. to even complain about 5 times vs .25 times (once a month) is unfair, because of course great QBs have less off target throws. That's why they are great QBs. Geno, even if everything goes right, is going to need help from WRs and time in order to be a great QB. No one thinks that he'll wake up tomorrow and be great, so I don't know why you constantly act disapointed that it hasn't happened yet.

bob
bob

I tell you this guys... We are gonna have a good team next year for sure..


So come lets get happy put on a happy face. come on everybody get happy where going to a better place...come I cant here you guys sing da song..

marshrandy
marshrandy

@bob we'll def be an improved roster. Say we finish 7-9, teams go from 7-9 to the playoffs in a year easily 

__fense
__fense

@marshrandy @bob Especially with all of the cap space we have. And we also have a ton of draft picks, which means that there will be depth and a bright future after next year, too. 

BDarc23
BDarc23

You are really squinting hard to say Geno had one of his better performances.  How was Geno even mediocre yesterday? He had a 72 yd TD drive with 5 or 6 completions when the game was already over in the 4th qtr...Carolina was playing back.  Take away that garbage time drive and he would probably be under 50% completion with maybe 120 yds passing for the game.  Geno has not improved and he only throws the ball if he sees a receiver already sitting wide open.  By then it is too late.

Bent
Bent

@a57se @BDarc23 Yep...and factoring how good the defense he was facing is, that is still arguably better than most of his performances all season.


I don't dispute anything you're saying.  By calling it one of his better performances, I am essentially criticizing his body of work, not sticking up for him.

Bent
Bent

@a57se What was that again?  Please reiterate.

Bent
Bent

@a57se That's deep.  Rephrase it as a question and post it as a separate comment rather than a reply and I'll respond in BGA Extra.

BDarc23
BDarc23

Are you really comparing Geno to Peyton and Eli.  Peyton Manning threw 26 tds as a rookie 3700 yds...this is who you are asking us to compare as someone who struggled?  Eli was horrendous his first five starts and then improved dramtically his last 3 games as a rookie throwing 5 tds and over 100 passer rating twice. Geno has not improved at all. You talk about weapons but Matt Mcgloin can come in and far far outplay Geno.

Brendan
Brendan

@jetfuel Do you have these comments saved? They're identical to the ones you made about Sanchez last year. 

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

Hey all, if you want to block that annoying Sporting News auto-play video, here's the filter URL:


 ||static.eplayer.performgroup.com/*

I use Firefox with Ad Block Plus.

Jim Welker
Jim Welker

I think we have seen enough of Smith to tell us we need to draft a QB. Let Simms play the last two games. We need to see what he can do.

harvlis
harvlis

Geno missed too many passes, yesterday.  He is not the answer.  The Jet defensive front seven is the reason that the Jets have been competitive.  They had worn out the Panther O-line, and would have held on to any lead that was given to them.  Unfortunately, between Geno and Marty M, they couldn't get it done.  I just hope that Idzik doesn't force Geno down our throats, next season, because it was his 2nd round draft pick.  This experiment should be over and we need to get a real QB, for next season.  There was a time that rookies had the opportunity to learn the game, before getting thrown to the wolves.  Geno, Winters, and Milliner have not had that luxury and it shows why, in the past, they "groomed" players.   

marshrandy
marshrandy

I'm in no way a Geno apologist, but I would like to see what he could do with some actual receivers

harvlis
harvlis

@marshrandy They showed plays, in slow motion, where plenty of receivers were open and Geno didn't throw the ball.  Kerley, Holmes, Cumberland, Winslow, & Nelson were more than enough, along with two solid RB's, for Geno to get it done.  He can't.

bob
bob

@harvlis@marshrandy


What do you expect from a rookie QB...You got to leave Geno in the oven a little longer he ain't ready yet.

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@bob

Geno just stares at one guy and waits for him to get open.  You saw it yesterday - the guy just stares down his target.

He hasn't improved one bit.  He's no better at the end of the year than we was at the start of the year.  Sure, he quit being embarrassingly bad, but he's still bad.  No way they go forward with a guy who has shown nothing in the way of getting better or learning from his past mistakes. 

harvlis
harvlis

@bob@harvlis@marshrandy I am not saying he can't be good but, they should have realized that he was in over his head, a long time ago, and given the team a chance to win by trying Simms.  If Simms was worse, you could always bring back Geno.  The idea is to try to win.  It seems like, by playing Geno, Milliner, & Winters, they were conceding this season.

marshrandy
marshrandy

@harvlis @bob @marshrandy if there was a QB on the roster who could maybe give us a better chance he'd be playing. Simms was overwhelmed by the college game and he's showed me nothing in the pros, it'd be a waste of time to put him in 

Brendan
Brendan

@marshrandy Guys were getting wide open yesterday, though. 


The two things I see Geno doing more often than anything else are missing edge blitzers (LB's/DB's) and hesitating before throwing it, which always leads to a DB making a play on the ball. 


The third would be holding the ball too long, but that kind of goes hand-in-hand with him hesitating to throw, so I didn't give it a separate item. 

bob
bob

@harvlis@bob@marshrandy


Well from what I been seeing Geno looks to me of having a upside and as far as Sims is concerned looks like he's the guy learning in the shadows its all good Sanchez wasn't  suppose to get hurt however Geno has taken his lumps and as of right now getting valuable exerance..

marshrandy
marshrandy

@bob @harvlis @marshrandy Geno definitely has upside. People want Simms just because he's the backup and people love backup QBs. If we had Jimmy Clausen Jets fans would be clamoring for him to get a start 

harvlis
harvlis

@marshrandy@bob@harvlis Not true.  Every time that I see Simms, he looks better than Geno.  I believe that when they first put him in for Geno, he had a TD on either his first or second drive.  Something that Geno struggles to do.  He has a strong arm, is more accurate, gets rid of the ball faster, etc... He should have been looked at.  

Brendan
Brendan

@marshrandy @Brendan  And when Winters gets destroyed off the line and Geno doesn't see it the resulting sack is a 20 yard Madden sack that is incomprehensible. 

harvlis
harvlis

@marshrandy@bob@harvlis Geno, pretty much, threw our season away.  He should have sat down, once it was apparent that he was over his head.  Every time Simms came in, he played better than Geno. 

bob
bob

@Brendan@marshrandy


Maybe now with a year experience adding a year in strength and conditioning an reevaluating himself on tape could lead to a better Winter..


Now you know you would like a better Winter..Maybe nice and warm outside.


Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

Game on the line, Geno chokes again.  Did you notice how much better he played once the season was basically over (the last two games)?  The guy can't handle pressure.  He can't handle the pass rush.  I think it's clear that we don't want this guy playing in clutch time.


He will make a decent backup, especially with a season's worth of experience under his belt, but I look forward to getting someone back there who can handle it.

juunit
juunit

Get used to him. He's recovered from his total meltdown in the last 2 games and I see no way he isn't the QB again next year.

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@juunit 

Bad to worse to bad again doesn't represent improvement.  No way they stick with this guy.  They aren't going to be as desperate next year and will be able to work the room better to find somebody they really like.


And he's currently, by a great margin, the worst quarterback in the league.  What's he going to improve to next year, maybe 25th?  His ceiling is the floor.

juunit
juunit

@Ceifus Hornswoggle@juunit 

The only thing there I disagree with is "no way they stick with this guy."

Seems pretty clear that Idzik won't be giving up on his draft picks very easily. 

If Smith had ended the season the way he played most of the games in the middle of it, I'd say there's a chance we'd move on. But now that he's been just kinda bad the last two games, I'm sure they'll still see his potential and whatnot. I guess it's not all bad. 2015 could very well be an even better year to draft a QB, and we could hopefully do a good job building up the rest of the team in preparation for that guy in 2014. 

juunit
juunit

@a57se@juunit@Ceifus Hornswoggle 

Right, but barring some crazy stuff, whoever is the worst team in 2014 will pick him #1 overall. I don't really see any scenario where that's the Jets.