Florham Park, N.J. - News broke today that the New York Jets will be going with Geno Smith as their starting quarterback in Week Seven against the Baltimore Ravens. This comes after Ryan Fitzpatrick was pulled late in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. Smith was the starter heading into last season before he had his jaw broken by I.K. Enemkpali. Then he was ready to take over this season before Fitzpatrick and the Jets shocked everyone and he resigned on check-in day.
Smith (finally) relieved Fitzpatrick of his duties late in the fourth quarter on Monday night against the Cardinals. On the lone drive, Smith went 4-of-6 for 31 yards and scrambled for two. He also threw an interception before the Cardinals ran the clock out. I'm not worried about the interception. Smith was just doing everything he can. His team is down 28-3 with eight minutes to go. He's just out there to show what he's got. Smith completed the first four passes he threw. His first incompletion was a drop by Charone Peake who was heavily guarded. Smith was then sacked and fumbled, but it was recovered by the Jets. On 4th-and-11, he scrambled out of the pocket and threw sideline to a tightly covered Peake, only to be picked off by Tyrann Mathieu, who jumped the route.
"I felt it was time for a change, we got up there in the turnover category," said head coach Todd Bowles. "We haven't put many points up and we're trying to get a spark somewhere so I made the change."
Coming out of West Virginia, Smith threw for over 4,000 yards in each of his final two seasons there with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 73-13. In his rookie season, Smith was thrown into the fire and started every single game for the Jets. He compiled an 8-8 record, threw for 3,046 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also running for 366 yards and six scores. However, he was turnover prone, as he threw 21 interceptions and fumbled the ball eight times, losing four of them. Smith would enter a sophomore slump, going 3-10 in 13 games started. He was not nearly as productive as he was in his rookie year.
The thing with Smith is that he has shown flashes of good and flashes of bad. One game Smith can throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but the next he can barely get over 100 and throw three interceptions. Last season, Smith played in one game against the Raiders, throwing for 265 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also led the team in rushing that game with 34 yards on two attempts.
"We've been stagnant on offense and we have some things in place where we think another quarterback, will right now, be beneficial," said Bowles.
Smith has grown tremendously since his rookie season. The coaching staff has said this offseason that he has grown as both a player and a leader. Smith has the intangibles to win. He can sit in the pocket and throw the ball anywhere on the field. If he begins to run into problems, he can scramble and throw or take it himself and gain yards.
"It's not going to be about me on Sunday, it's going to be about all the guys coming together trying to get a win," said Smith. "We're hungry right now."
In his first two seasons with the Jets, Smith didn't have nearly as many weapons as he does now. He will have no problem throwing deep to Brandon Marshall and Robby Anderson. He can simply just give the ball to Quincy Enunwa and let him do the work. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are reliable check-down options out of the backfield. Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be a big target once he fully grasps the playbook. All that's left is for Devin Smith to return and there will be no telling what Smith can do.
"I just got to continue to stay focused, continue to try and lead the troops," said Smith. "As long as we all continue to do our jobs, I think we're good."