The New York Jets are entering 2016 with a huge question mark at the most important offensive position: quarterback. Geno Smith is in line to be the starter with Ryan Fitzpatrick still not having signed a contract with the team.
The experts at Pro Football Focus don't think that's good news. They aren't confident in Smith, who may be given his last shot to prove his worth as a quarterback in the NFL, 2016 second round draft pick Christian Hackenberg or 2015 fourth round draft pick Bryce Petty.
Smith has not been able to put together any consistent performances as a starting quarterback. He has shown flashes of skill at times, such as his final start of 2014 against the Dolphins. On the other hand, he has also had moments of disaster, such as when he was benched after throwing three first quarter interceptions against Buffalo just a few months earlier. The fact that those two games occurred in the same season is exactly the problem many people have with Smith: inconsistency. In the words of PFF, "Geno Smith has at least flashed the ability to have strong games, but has never put together an extended run of play."
As for Hackenberg, who PFF considers "the QB of the future for this team," he was the lowest-graded FBS quarterback in 2014 and was "consistently poor" in his other two college seasons. At this point nobody knows when, if at all, Hackenberg will show that he is ready to be an NFL quarterback.
PFF doesn't consider Petty a reasonable option to play quarterback at this time, though Petty has said that he's out to show that he is a viable option.
Even if Fitzpatrick does sign, there's no telling what kind of shape he is in. He has not attended any offseason workouts and has no experience playing with some of the team's new additions like Matt Forte, or players coming back form injury like Jace Amaro. Plus Fitzpatrick does not have age on his side.
The franchise quarterback is something it seems the Jets are always lacking and PFF isn't confident that it'll fund an answer this year.
The top teams on the list are perennial playoff contenders -- the Packers, Patriots, Steelers, Panthers and Seahawks -- indicating the importance of quality quarterback play.