Though it’s taken plenty of time, the New York Jets look to have finally replaced the ultra-versatile Brad Smith with Terrelle Pryor.
The Rex Ryan New York Jets weren’t difficult to figure out. Actually, they played week-to-week as a bit of a throwback.
While most teams had already converted to the chameleon-like game-planning strategy Bill Belichick had slowly implemented up north, Rex’s Jets remained true to who they were regardless of situation and opponent.
This team would throw a constant dose of ground-and-pound while heavily blitzing from every angle from that classic 3-4 attacking defense (to go along with a touch of 46 in tribute form for Buddy). A low-scoring game would represent the norm. That is, until … boom. A play happened. A play, oftentimes, in the form of specialty-man Brad Smith—just like a specific one against the Cincinnati Bengals in Northern Jersey back in Week 12 of 2010.
Granted, that was Mike Westhoff. Also granted, the personnel was extremely talented by way of run-blocking (offensive line) and overall depth, thus increasing overall special teams talent.
Still, that straight-line athletic versatile playmaker with the ball in his hands is extremely valuable and the Jets have yet to efficiently replace Brad Smith since he walked for Orchard Park, New York and the Buffalo Bills during the offseason of 2010.
Meet Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor, 28, showcases the very same age Smith possessed when he walked for Buffalo yet brings the exact same skillset to Florham Park.
Smith finished with 557 receiving yards, 767 rushing yards and 1,968 return yards to go along with seven total touchdowns during the regular season while in New York. He also threw for 51 yards and a score on 4-for-7 passing.
Stats just don’t do the narrative justice.
The wildcat busted out near the tail-end of Smith’s career with the Jets. Though the Jets mixed Smith in at quarterback and in the rushing game while playing wideout, his offensive role took on a huge representation of the offense once the Miami Dolphins shook up the New England Patriots on one particular hot Sunday afternoon in 2008.
From there, it was on for Smith and the imaginative Brian Schottenheimer offense desperate to divvy out snaps to anybody not named Mark Sanchez. While the team’s quarterback situation is refreshingly stable with Pryor in tow, that versatile void might have finally been closed.
Pryor, obviously, entered the league as a quarterback. (Though Smith played quarterback at Missouri, he entered as an “athlete.”) Drafted in the third round during the very same spring Smith left New York (2011), Pryor played QB for the Oakland Raiders for three seasons to less-than-stellar ability.
After a lost year, a trade and three releases from three separate teams, Pryor finally made the decision to switch to wideout—the decision all not-good-enough NFL quarterbacks must come to if a professional career in the NFL is the goal.
Two years in Cleveland and one in Washington has led Pryor to this stage of the game, a solid wideout who can do it all—just like Brad Smith.
Should Pryor return any kicks or punts in 2018, that’d mark his first ever professional return. He’s never taken on that role so don’t expect it this coming season. But it also doesn’t mean he couldn’t get it done in a pinch. (The tradeoff for his non-existent return game is his much better receiver-ability than his predecessor, Smith.)
Aside from that note, he’s Brad Smith 2.0 for the New York Jets offense.
- Wide receiver? Check.
- Rushing the ball with terrific field vision from any spot out of the backfield, from the outside or from the efficient direct-snap? Check.
- A dangerous 2-point converstion man? Check.
- Representing that unique man integral to the success of a trick play? Check.
- Throwing the ball from any position within an offense? Double-check.
It’s been eight years, but hey … better late than never. The New York Jets have finally replaced No. 16.