Ever since his selection in the fourth round of this year’s draft, Petty has been in the quarterback meeting room and at each practice. He witnesses every one of Smith’s individual and team reps. He’s watched Smith scan New York’s defense, fire passes and look to move the practice Jets offense against the practice Jets defense in a riveting non-contact scrimmage.
So, in an interview with NFL.com , the rookie offered up his analysis of Smith:
“Geno is a stud,” Petty said.
Wait… wait just one second. A “stud?” Smith is many, many things. He’s shown such in his two years in the NFL. In fact, he’s forced analysts and fans to go galloping to their nearest thesaurus to describe his sporadic, at best, play in his 30 NFL starts. ‘Stud,’ quite possibly, may be the only adjective not used in the laundry list compiled to described New York’s scrutinized signal caller.
The West Virginia product has flashed signs he can be good, ok and maybe even a capable starter. He’s shown, on a far more regular basis, the ability to be a turnover-prone, game-costing machine that quarterbacks his team to abysmal, embarrassing finishes on a game-by-game basis. That Geno is the one fans, players and coaches have come to expect.
Collapses such as tossing three interceptions in one quarter seem to be of a higher occurrence than three-touchdown outings.
Now, did Smith improve the final month of the 2015 regular season? Yes, absolutely. Although, there was nowhere to go but up from how the former second-round pick began the season. He torched Miami’s defense in the final week of the regular season to the tune of three touchdowns, 358 yards and a perfect quarterback rating. But the weeks before that? Geno was more ‘ok’ than ‘stud-ly.’
Smith completed 63 percent of his passes and threw just three touchdowns before filleting the Dolphins. He averaged 213 passing yards a game.
Better? Yes. Good or great? Hardly.
Derek Carr in December? He threw seven touchdowns. Mark Sanchez --Yes, Mark Sanchez-- in December? He completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged 328 passing yards per game and tossed six touchdowns—Noted, that did come in a Chip Kelly-run offense.
This year, Smith is New York’s un-questioned/questioned/no-competition/open competition starter in a new, quarterback-friendly offense instilled by Chan Gailey. For the first time since tearing up defenses in the Big 12, Smith’s back in a spread offense. While he’s still learning the scheme, aside from one minicamp practice where the quarterback connected on fives-straight touchdowns, he’s resembled much more of Old Geno than the new-and-improved Smith.
Could Smith turn things around this season, his third in the NFL? Absolutely. No doubt.
He’s never before played with a Brandon Marshall-type receiver. He’s never had a weapon like Devin Smith capable of stretching the field. He could easily thrive in Gailey’s offense once he gets comfortable, make better decisions and prove he can be a capable starter in the NFL. But the hype-train that suddenly seems to be chugging along ever since that promising practice in Florham Park needs to be slowed.
Smith needs to show he can not lose games before the Jets assume they can win with him on the field. He needs to show he can be turnover free before he’s a touchdown-tossing machine. He, above anything else, needs to show he can be a consistently not-bad quarterback.
But a stud? A stud?
Chalk that early praise up to the first wrong read made by a rookie quarterback.