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Geno Smith’s Uphill Battle

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One in the hand is worth two in the bush. A penny saved is a penny earned. Look before you leap. Wait a half hour after you eat to go swimming. All these are sayings we use to convey truths that can be very helpful to those who choose to heed their advice – especially that last one, trust me.

There is one more saying, that just may have more truth behind it than all of these put together, and that saying comes from the world of football. “If you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one.”

At first glance, the statement seems to be contradicting. How can you go from having two starting signal callers to none without losing a player? Think about it. In a salary capped league such as the NFL, teams can rarely afford to hold on to two starting caliber quarterbacks, so if there is a truly wide open contest for the starting job, it is usually due to the fact that no passer on the roster has displayed the skills necessary to be a successful starter in the NFL.

That being said, if having two starting quarterbacks means you don’t actually have one, what exactly does it mean when a team has five quarterbacks after finishing the draft?

Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Chris Simms—that was the star-studded quarterback cast the Jets were planning on parading into camp on what can be considered (to put it kindly) a rebuilding year for the Green Machine. However, the quarterback contest just got a little less cluttered when Garrard recently announced his retirement from the league on due to a knee injury.

Not to say there isn’t some potential at the position for the Jets; after all, Smith was considered by many to be the top quarterback in this year’s draft and McElroy remains a largely untested commodity. Sanchez is the only one in the hunt left with any substantial experience. Remember, he has taken the Jets to two AFC Championship games. As mentioned earlier, the question is not about potential as the Jets have plenty of that. The real question is if there is actual talent there.

Ironically, the fact there is not a clear-cut starter in Jets camp may be the biggest reason why Smith finds himself in a terrible position as a rookie this season. Smith definitely has talent, but he is not polished enough to step into the league as a starter right now. He is not nearly as developed as an Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco – those quarterbacks were ready to step in and lead their teams from day one. Smith, however, needs some time to learn the NFL game. While learning from behind Sanchez would not quite be like Aaron Rodgers learning behind Brett Favre, it would still give Smith some time to work on his skill set in NFL practices with a coaching staff that can give his game the finishing touches that it needs.

If this was the Jets playoff-contending team from a few seasons ago, Smith would have the luxury of getting to develop his skills as a backup. However, the Jets ship is sinking and sinking fast. Already this off-season, the Jets have cut ties with Shonn Greene, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, Dustin Keller, Tim Tebow and Garrard (just to name a few), while they have signed….well, no one who is going to make them all that great. The Jets are going to be a bad team, which means they will be trailing early and often. Unfortunately, the quarterback under center will be facing A LOT of pressure – this is not exactly a recipe for success, especially for a young signal caller. Remember, Sanchez was sacked 34 times last season. Don’t expect that number to decrease for whoever is New York’s primary quarterback in 2013.

Another reason I fear Smith won’t get the time to develop he needs in order to increase his odds of being successful in the NFL is the fact that Rex Ryan is on the hot seat. Unfortunately for today’s coaches, the only thing that matters is what you have done lately. And, lately, the Jets have been underperforming. As mentioned earlier, they will be bad again this year – this surely won’t do anything to take Ryan off that hot seat. In a last ditch effort to save his job, Ryan will likely throw Smith onto the field far too early and hope to catch lightning in a bottle. Smith will certainly love to have the opportunity, but I fear getting out there too early may make him look like more of a Blaine Gabbert than an RG3.

Quarterbacks, much like coaches, have less time to prove themselves now than ever before – this means the long-term effects of a lackluster beginning to his career could be devastating. If Smith doesn’t put up good numbers when Ryan inevitably tries to save his job by thrusting him into the starting role (which is almost assured due to his terrible supporting cast), he could prematurely seal his fate as a backup, or worse yet, a failed NFL quarterback.

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9 years ago

Very well written article Corey. I completely agree.

Jeff Wagner
9 years ago

How’s this for weird? Could be the third year in a row (and for three different teams) that David Garrard’s health woes result in a rookie QB being prematurely thrown into the fire.

Steve
9 years ago

Meh.

I’ll leave a comment hopefully taken as good criticism…

But, nothing new in this article.

And “The Jets ship is sinking fast”… Meh, in NY it sunk last year with a GM that was a glorified accountant – to many of us that follow the team firing Tannenbaum and going thru an extensive hiring process and coming out with John Idzik is a new start and a new ship.. I wrote about a sinking ship LAST year.

This offseason has brought me just about all my wishes – New GM, Revis garbage behind us.. CLEANED UP CAP and the QB I said in October I would give a lung for in Geno Smith…

Now this was a Geno article so related to him I’ll say this – and I agree 100% on QB’s not given time anymore and take it a step further.. Idzik comes from Seattle – Seattle spent a lot of resources on QBs before they found Wilson… Geno Smith to Idzik was cheap – 2nd round, locked in low salary… Geno needs to at least flash something or else Idzik is swinging again in a loaded QB draft with little fear of having “TOO MUCH” at QB…

Next Year could see Geno Smith VS Teddy Bridgwater in this same article – or any of the other half dozen or so top QB’s in this draft….

You also gloss over the signing of Chris Ivory, Willie Colon (as well as draft depth on OL), Antwan barns as a stop gap at OLB…
You could have basically stopped at Revis and Keller as Jet losses… RB is UPGRADED from Greene and Scott was done.

You also miss the bigger loss of Landry and then signing of his brother Dawan…

Oh and Rex on the hot seat is debateble – You don’t keep a HC thru that process, potentially limit GM candidates – Strip the team down and rebuild and then fire your HC based of W/L in a rebuild year – Woody has tremendous respect for Rex as a HC and Rex and Idzik have long term ties..

Rex is not leaving IMO – just media connecting the dots and other media following the trail.

People are underrating this team IMO – Rex wil have the D playing well – Ivory is an upgrade at RB – we’ll see if Goodson sticks – The OL could be upgraded with Colon and 3 draft picks while the anchor Pro Bowlers at C and LT stick… A ahealthy Santonio plus what sounds liker a healthy and Hard working 2nd year Stephen Hill and Kerley isn’t bad…*************oh and Biggest thing ppl miss about the Jets is that they basically didn’t have an Offensive Coordiantor last year… Sparano was grasping at straws…. Morningwheg is installing a real offesne this year.

I expect better Offensive game plans, Better Run game, Better QB play and healthier WR core.

Good D… Run the ball… We’re not talking top 5 pick here.. I think this team surprises maybe wins 7-8 games.

Lee Warshawsky
Reply to  Steve
9 years ago

I completely agree Steve. The Jets won’t be great this year but I think they have a shot at .500 or very close to it which will surprise a lot of people and if they draft well in 2014 combined with an expected cap space of between 40 and 45 million dollars for free agent signings in 2014, they could be prime to get right back in the playoff picture sooner rather than later.

Chad Scott
Reply to  Steve
9 years ago

Steve-
That’s a really detailed and constructive comment. Those are the kinds of comments I love to see on my articles if I miss something or botched something up.

I enjoyed the article but really enjoyed your comment…even learned some stuff about the Jets while reading it:)

As a native Seattlite, you guys’ got yourself a HUGE upgrade at GM – as you clealy state. And the ship was sunk already, but it’s slowly ascending back to surface… great stuff, guys.

sean mcguigan
Reply to  Steve
9 years ago

Steve good commentary agree with about half what you say….here is what I don’t agree on…no chance this team is close to 500 when I look at schedule I see 5 wins tops but heh anything could happen…..Rex may not be on hot seat in the clown owner that is woody j right this second but another miserable season and he is gone….woody doesn’t have spin to stand up to the media sharks in ny…he is truly the idiot son incarnate….never worked a day in his life silver spoon to the max….teddy B SHOULD be who the go after hard…..the old idiot gm and dear Rex gave away the whole back half of draft to get a inexperienced and not very talented Sanchez…..and don’t tell me about the 2 afc championships that was incredible defense and Tomas jones sanchez just had to NOT screw it up….he is awful terrible a clown and a mental midget and big mouth Rex owns that……. Santonia moss is a primadonna and Pitts couldn’t wait to get ride of him…what do jets do? They pay him like he is Megatron…..horrific……I agree Hill could emerge as he seems to hav
E the work ethic and certainly has the physical tools but I am concerned as knee already bothering him in OTA’s and is raw in a toxic environment……he does have easily biggest upside on the entire team though…..

In summary the jets are gross

M
9 years ago

Nice breakdown Steve.
The jets HAVE BEEN a disaster. Itll take a couple years but taking out the trash is the 1st thing you have to do. This is a dynasty football site, I’m not taking Geno in ANY redraft situation, but him landing with the jets has near 0% influence on where I rank him for dynasty. I love his current value in rookie drafts. Athletic QBs don’t have to be perfect decision makers, ask anyone that has Cam, Kaepernick, Wilson or even half of Vicks career. Ill take his dynasty upside at this discount all day. Hes not starting for me this year anyway.

Chris H
9 years ago

We auction all our players, including rookies, in my League. I feel he will go less than $5, out of $400. Might be worth stashing on a taxi squad for now….but even then I have my doubts.

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