Quarterback Geno Smith could be about to become the new Mark Sanchez for the New York Jets. In other words, Smith is in the position of becoming the second highly drafted and highly hyped young quarterback who could soon find himself forced out of the Jets organization due to poor play.
The Jets’ signing of veteran free agent quarterback Michael Vick last Friday now puts Geno in the hot seat as the next guy to get the royal boot from the team. Even if the Jets choose to keep Geno on the team for the last three years of his rookie contract, he’s still likely to be little more than a backup.
It’s also possible that Geno could find himself pushed further down the food chain each year as the Jets add additional quarterbacks to their team, as it’s unlikely that they’ll keep Vick beyond the 2014 season unless he plays at a super high level and can remain injury free for them.
The Jets ignored the criticism of Geno’s talent from other NFL teams last year and went ahead and drafted him with a valuable 2nd round pick out of West Virginia where he had put up spectacular passing numbers against largely weak C-level college teams. Geno had been pegged initially as a 1st round pick, but as more and more teams evaluated him, he was seen in some cases as little more than a 4th round draft caliber talent.
The Jets ignored the criticism about Smith’s talent and chose to use a 2nd round pick in drafting him anyway. The Jets failed to learn their lesson from drafting a flawed quarterback in Mark Sanchez in the 1st round in 2009, and went ahead made the same mistake with Geno in 2013. Having Smith on the team ended Sanchez’s 4-year reign as the Jets starter, as Jets head coach Rex Ryan seemingly couldn’t wait to insert Smith as the starter for the team despite the fact that he hadn’t shined in the preseason games.
The choice was out of Ryan’s hands after he made the stupid mistake of putting Sanchez into a preseason game in the 4th quarter against the New York Giants behind a weak offensive line filled with nonstarters. It was a move that few other NFL coaches would have done with a top quarterback because of the risk involved in doing it. Ryan didn’t seem to understand that putting Sanchez in a meaningless game behind a weak offensive line would put him in a situation where he could get hurt. As such, Sanchez was hurt and ended up missing the entire season. Ryan was then left with no choice but to name Geno as his starter for better or worse. It turned out to be worse, as Smith played horribly the entire season. Ryan made things worse by staying with him even when it was clear that he needed to be benched in favor of backup Matt Simms.
It’s possible that Geno Smith could all of a sudden raise his game in 2014 and play like the player that the Jets management thought he would be when they drafted him. In a lot of cases, 2nd year quarterbacks improve dramatically. However, Smith played so horribly last season that even if he does improve this season, he’ll still likely be at a level that will be too low for Ryan to keep him in as a starter. After all, his job and the Jets general manager John Idzik both have their jobs on the line this season.
The Jets team has been improved with the addition of Eric Decker and Vick, but if they still play poorly with Geno Smith as their starter, then you can bet both Idzik and Ryan will be given the boot after the season. This is why you probably won’t see Geno being given too much time as the team’s starter if he fails to play at a high level.