2015 will mark the year it is put-up or shut-up time for New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith. Can he get it done under new leadership?
In the movie The Matrix (1999), Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) goes to visit the all-knowing Oracle. The scene finds Neo sitting in the waiting room where he sees a child prodigy bending a spoon with his mind.
The prodigy says:
“Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.”
Neo: “What truth?“
Prodigy: “There is no spoon.”
ESPN has ranked Geno Smith 34th out of a possible 38 quarterbacks going into the 2015 NFL season. Some publications have him ranked dead last.
In two seasons as the Jets starting quarterback Smith has compiled an 11-18 record. He has fumbled the ball 16 times (lost seven of them) threw 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. His completion percentage is 57.5.
The stats don’t lie here, Smith hasn’t been very good or very productive. A lot of that has to do with former head coach Rex Ryan’s inability to orchestrate a competitive offense, and lack of offensive talent during that time.
Regardless, great quarterbacks find a way. Andrew Luck has has no running game, a poor offensive line and mediocre defense, yet he’s led the Indianapolis Colts to three straight playoff appearances.
The good news for Smith and the Jets fans is that Ryan is no longer on the sidelines.
The Jets probably had the best off-season of any team in the NFL. They acquired Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Zac Stacy, Brandon Marshall and drafted Devin Smith and Leonard Williams. Both sides of the field have been upgraded. Their defense should get a ton of “three and outs” and their offense has depth at every position. Everything is in line for Smith to succeed.
It is time for Geno to take the next step and win some games for his team.
Don’t anticipate offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to go conservative on offense. That is not the way to win in today’s NFL.
Last year’s final four teams were equipped with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. The days of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks just managing the game are over.
I am not suggesting Smith needs to throw 40 touchdowns next year, but he needs to make plays with both his feet and his arm.
Peyton Manning threw 38 interceptions in his first two seasons. Smith has struggled, but it is time to put-up, or be benched.
The Jets haven’t had a franchise quarterback in their prime since Joe Namath. This is Smith’s last chance. If the Jets offense struggles early, Smith could find himself out of the league or a career backup.
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