Geno Smith was once the #1 rated Quarterback in his 2013 draft class. Still, he was the second off the board, but not usually where one would expect to fall. E.J. Manuel
for some reason was selected 16th overall and was the ONLY QB taken in the first round that year. Smith would fall into the Jets laps as the 39th overall in the second round, only after selecting Alabama CB Dee Milliner 9th and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson 13th.
Rocky rookie start
Smith’s first move as a pro was firing his agents, presumably for where he fell in the draft. He later signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and then entered a quote, “Quarterback competition” with teammate Mark Sanchez.
They battled in camp, some saying Sanchez played slightly better than Geno. In a questionable move, Coach Rex Ryan put Sanchez in late during a preseason game against the Giants. With a second string offensive line in front of him, Sanchez was sacked by Giants DL Marvin Austin and tore his labrum. He was placed on the IR – designated to return list but never did. Sanchez underwent season ending surgery in early October.
Needless to say it was quite a bumpy road, but what one would expect from a rookie QB learning the ropes? Smith had his ups and downs. The team alternated wins and losses for the first 9 weeks of the season, which has never happened in the Jets storied history. Smith was benched at one point in favor of Matt Simms. Yet he (Smith) also played the hero role against Atlanta in a comeback victory and even won three of the last four games of the season – which may have very well have saved Rex Ryan’s job. And with next to a zero supporting cast, he still threw for over 3000 yards.
Hitting the Jets “Reset” button
This offseason GM John Idzik signed WR Eric Decker to a 5 year – $37.25M contract, RB Chris Johnson to a 2 year -$8M deal, and then he went out and drafted Texas Tech star TE Jace Amaro. In addition, the Jets spent three of their 2014 draft picks on WR’s; Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans (IR), and Quincy Enunwa. Emerging receiver Greg Salas may also help Geno’s progression in Marty Mornhinweg’s fast paced ;offensive system.
Thus this year should be DIFFERENT for Geno Smith. He actually HAS some weapons at his disposal, which will add a new dimension to the JETS offense. Who would you rather throw to – Eric Decker or Clyde Gates? Exactly. The “dreaded backfield” duo of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson is a perfect complement of running backs to wear down and pummel defenses. Geno has looked solid and comfortable this preseason entering his second season at the helm. Through two games he is 14-19, 131 yards, INT, Rush TD. Michael Vick is also
competing mentoring Geno along the way. Say what you want of his past, but nobody can say Vick is a bad teammate, he is beloved in every locker room he enters. He will push Geno along and could (but hopefully not) come off the bench if absolutely needed and play competitively.
Reserve your judgment
Don’t give up hope too fast on #7, Jets fans. After all, Mark Sanchez was given 4 years – 2 of which were with a star studded cast. Sanchez had the #1 rushing offense and every one of his offensive lineman were Pro Bowlers; not to mention Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards. Compare the numbers, Geno has done more with less.
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