Once dubbed the future across town, Geno Smith has the chance to get his career on the right path with the New York Giants.
The New York Giants signed Geno Smith to compete with Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job this season. He’s been taking more reps with the first two teams than Johnson, according to ESNY’s Jason Leach.
Frankly, it isn’t that surprising that Smith is winning the backup job. He can make all the throws and has a live arm. His problem has never been talent. His talent level hasn’t wavered significantly since the Jets drafted him in the second round four years ago.
Smith’s problem has always been with the mental and decision making aspects of the game. (well, getting decked in the jaw didn’t help matters either.)
He’s thrown 36 interceptions in 33 career games. That is way too many, especially considering the fact that Smith has an arm that is both strong and fairly accurate.
Smith’s problem is that he makes some horrendous decisions with the football. He tries to force balls into windows that are either too small or aren’t there at all. He has trouble reading where to put the ball where only his receivers can get it.
His other big issue is going through his progressions. Smith played in a spread offense in college at West Virginia and has never really adapted to the NFL offense. He’s a primary read-then-check down quarterback as opposed to a quarterback who can go through multiple progressions and decide who to throw to.
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This severely limits what an offense can do. They essentially can only expect one of two players to get the ball on any given play. What makes guys like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers so great is their ability to read multiple routes downfield and decide who to throw to, as opposed to just waiting for one receiver to get open.
Smith has always struggled with that. Once defenses identify who the primary receiver and who the check down is, it becomes easier to defend the pass. The offense becomes far too predictable when that happens, which leads to even tighter windows and more interceptions.
Smith didn’t have as good a wide receiver group with the Jets as he does with the Giants. The wide receivers will be able to help bail him out of some situations, but his decision making still needs to improve.
Smith makes sense as a backup quarterback. He’s inconsistent but can give stretches of solid play. When he’s making good decisions he’s passable, as he has the arm to do it and is mobile enough to avoid pressure in the pocket.
He has confidence in himself, and that’s something that’s never waivered. He’s never gotten in trouble for making too safe of a pass when better options downfield were available. Smith’s talent allows him to be a good enough backup.
But if Smith continues to mature, who knows? Maybe he can become the quarterback Gang Green thought it had drafted for Big Blue.