Geno Smith has had an inconsistent start to his career as the New York Jets starting quarterback.
The rookie has excited the Jets organization with his ability to throw the ball deep ball — he has completed 16 passes over 20+ yards. However, it’s his costly interceptions that have prevented him from fulfilling his full potential.
The clear source of the Jets offensive problems are Smith’s turnovers. In the Jets three loses Smith has thrown seven interceptions and one touchdown, but in their three victories, he has thrown for six touchdowns, and three interceptions. While turnovers are a part of a rookie quarterback’s development, Smith doesn’t want to use the rookie tag as an excuse.
“I don’t look at them as rookie mistakes, I just seem them as mistakes,” Smith said. “I think every quarterback in this league is going to make some of those mistakes and the key thing is to try and eliminate them, try to avoid those mistakes. Although I am a rookie, I don’t tend to use that excuse as the reason behind me making those mistakes. I think they’re just simple mistakes in a game and they’ve got to be eliminated.”
It’s commendable that Smith doesn’t want to use hide behind his rookie status, but it is the reason for his early struggles. He is frankly seeing things from a defense that has has never seen before. NFL defenses are more complex than NCAA defenses, and learning their tendencies takes time.
Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, will be Smith’s first chance to prove he is developing. For the first time in his young career, he will face a team for the second time. Smith threw three fourth quarter interceptions as the Jets lost 13-10 to the Patriots in week two — Smith’s second ever game in the NFL.
“I got a good feel for them on tape. They do what they do. Bill Belichick’s that type of guy,” Smith said. “He’ll throw in a few wrinkles in here and there, but they’re going to stick to what they know and they’re good at and they do it very well. So we’ve got to prepare for it and just go out there and execute.”
In Smith’s first game against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, he completed 15-of-33 passes for 214 yards and 3 interceptions. Smith only faced pressure on 14 of his 33 dropbacks, according to ProFootballFocus, so he should have plenty of time in the pocket again on Sunday. It will be the rookie’s ability to decipher the Patriots defense that will decide the Jets offensive fate, and Smith is eager to get another shot at the Patriots.
“Yeah, anxious to go out there and have another opportunity once again to go out there and try and get a victory for the organization,” Smith said. “I think every single guy felt bitter after that loss, on the road that Thursday night. But we’ve put it behind us and we’ve learned from it. We’ve gained experience from it and we’re going to move on.”