Smith’s numbers so far over the first 23 games of his NFL career have been very average to say the least. Over that span he has thrown for 4,411 yards, 19 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, a completion percentage of 56.3, and an overall quarterback rating of 68.5. Just to put that into perspective here is Peyton Manning’s stats from his first two seasons in the NFL, courtesy of ESPN.com.
Here are the stats of Drew Brees’ first two seasons in the NFL, courtesy of ESPN.com
And here are Smith’s numbers through his first 23 games, courtesy of ESPN.com
If you look compare and contrast all of their stats, they are very similar. All three players had similar rookie season’s high interception rates, just over 50 percent completion and quarterback ratings in the high 60’s to low 70’s. But if you look at the progress Brees and Manning made in year two it’s astonishing. Now I’m not saying Smith will ever be as good as these two but what I am saying is give him a chance with some weapons and he may surprise some people.
With the addition of Eric Decker in the offseason and the acquisition of Percy Harvin last week Smith finally has reliable guys who can make plays for him. Last week, against the Patriots, Smith showed a lot of people that if he can just hold on to the football he could be a very good quarterback in this league. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told reporters earlier in the week that Smith against the Patriots, “He played very, very well. He’s taking care of the ball…so he’s doing some tings very, very well.”
With the weapons Smith has around him now that could start to translate into something more realistic. Just look at this. Last season at week eight the Jets best four receivers were Stephen Hill, David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, and Chaz Schilens. This year the Jets best four receivers are Decker, Harvin, Kerley and Greg Salas. Just going from guys who are not even on NFL rosters right now to guys who have been in the pro bowl will only help Smith develop as a quarterback.
Last season against the Bills at home Smith showed why he should have been a first round pick. Racking up 331 yards passing and three touchdowns. He simply outplayed E.J. Manuel, who was the first quarterback taken in last years draft. It is starting to come full circle for Smith as this week he will be going up against those same bills at home.
Personally I think Smith will have a good game. Bold prediction, Smith throws for over 300 yards and three touchdowns again. Maybe I’m just an optimist or maybe I’m an idiot but I see something in this young guy that most people might not. He has the arm to make all the throws and with his ability to use his legs he is a true dual threat. If he could just find a way to cut down on rookie mistakes he can truly become a top 10 quarterback in this league.