For the New York Jets under Todd Bowles, it seems the ultimate wild card happens to be the same it was under the previous regime.
By Robby Sabo
When it comes to the New York Jets in 2015, everything feels different.
Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have brought a new duo of leadership to the organization. Maccagnan has spent the massive amounts of money available and Bowles has showcased a quick response to knucklehead actions (see Antonio Cromartie).
Both of these actions are new in Jets land, unlike what the previous regime provided.
What’s not new is the current state of the quarterback position.
Yet again, the Jets organization is still without a franchise quarterback. The one position each of the 32 NFL franchises treat like gold (because it literally is), New York is still in hazy ways.
Both Maccagnan and Bowles have done nothing to indicate that they feel Geno Smith is the guy of the future. While offensive coordinator Chan Gailey surprising named him the starter a few weeks ago, the leadership core of the team hasn’t provided direction in this area.
This leaves them in a very desirable position.
While Geno will be the Jets quarterback, he doesn’t feel the added pressure of being the man. He can just go about his business, feeling whatever he does in a positive light will be looked at as an added bonus.
— Empire Writes Back (@EmpireWritesBck) June 14, 2015
So, essentially what Maccagnan has done is given Bowles a plethora of options for the 2015 campaign while he waits until 2016 to pluck his eventual franchise quarterback.
The question for today is, can Geno do just enough to get this team by?
We all know the numbers. Smith’s two-year career with Gang Green has been anything but spectacular. His 25 touchdowns to 34 interceptions to go along with a paltry 71.5 quarterback rating is anything but good.
When Mark Sanchez busted out during the 2009 postseason, he did so because he was forced to throw the ball. He didn’t have to overthink things and he let it fly when necessary.
Simply put, Ryan is a quarterback killer.
All Rex thinks about is his defense. He believes the offense is only there for the ride, and he drills the dreaded word “turnover” into his quarterback’s head so badly that all they can think about is not making that critical mistake.
Instead of instilling confidence in his quarterbacks, he takes it away.
Consider the four-game stretch at the end of 2013 and the last game against Miami in 2014. In each situation, the pressure was off. Geno had nothing to lose.
Watching Geno play under a coach who understands just how important the position is in the NFL will be interesting to watch. It’ll especially be fun to watch considering the role of game-manager is all Geno needs to know.
Additionally, it hasn’t been all terrible for Smith during his first two-seasons. There has been plenty to like.
For one, the way Smith hangs in the pocket to deliver a strike is something starting NFL quarterbacks are made of. He’s a tough kid who’ll take punishment and deliver the ball despite a nasty defensive lineman baring down on him.
On many occasions during his young Jets career, Smith has stood strong in the pocket and delivered a strike while seeing pressure come straight at him.
The other thing you have to like is his calm demeanor under pressure. Already, in only 29 games started, Smith has compiled three fourth-quarter comebacks and seven game-winning drives.
Those numbers are impressive.
Remember on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons during his rookie season? Or, how about his very first game in the NFL?
Of course the LaVonte David penalty helped a ton, but Geno was calm all the way through the drive. The Falcons game in 2013 was even more impressive. He took what the defense gave him and used his mobility when needed.
Admittedly, his decision making and smarts leaves a lot to be desired. But if Bowles and Gailey can instill confidence in the kid – something Rex didn’t know how to do – Geno Smith can manage the offense in a way that’ll allow this team to flourish as this defense is no joke.
The talent is there. The leaders of this group just need to show him the way.
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