Saturday, April 27, 2013
Geno Smith: The Jets' Savior?
I hate the New York Jets.
Nothing more that I wanted to start out with then that statement. I openly root against them. I think the fan base is laughable. Their coaching staff is a circus. There is nothing to like about the Jets.
Most of this emotion stems back to my father, who has an equal hatred for the Jets. So growing up, we would root against them, and root for my one NFL love, the New York Giants.
I remember the days of Chad Pennington and proclaiming that he will never win a Super Bowl (fact). I've been living through the Mark Sanchez era (the Sanchize!), also stating how he will never win a Super Bowl (looks like a fact).
I feel I've been pretty spot on.
But today, I have the solution to fixing the team I hate the most. The Jets need to start quarterback Geno Smith from day one.
There is absolutely no downside to this move. Let's step into a flash forward and I'll give you three scenarios that will come from making this move. And surprisingly, all scenarios lead to success.
1) Geno Smith is a complete bust
How can a player who lays an egg be a good move for the franchise? Because the 2014 NFL Draft class is going to be a gold mine for quarterbacks.
I've always had the mantra that I'd rather be really really bad then really really mediocre. Look what it did for my Giants? They went 4-12 (Taking by losing their last eight games) the season before drafting Eli Manning. They had the 5th pick in that draft and were able to maneuver and trade for the savior of their franchise.
And the Jets head into this coming season starting Smith. The fan base gets energized because there's some fresh blood at a position that has been average to bad for them for years.
Yes, this is the point where the Jet fan says "But Sanchez led us to two AFC Championships!"
The defense led them to two AFC Championships with Sanchez doing just enough to get them there. Remember, he had 12 TDs and 20 INTs in his rookie season. Is that a QB who lead his franchise? He didn't even throw a TD pass in a first-round victory over the Colts in his sophomore season. The defense was the star the entire time, masking mediocre performances. Eventually, NFL teams figured out that Sanchez was mediocre, and exposed him for the fraud he was. And now Sanchez needs to move on.
Smith looks awful most of the way his rookie season. He makes too many poor decisions, throwing 20+ INTs. Smith's numbers in college don't translate to the NFL. The wide-open offense that West Virginia ran hid Smith's faults. And the Jets completely bottom out. They go 3-13 and get the first overall pick in the NFL draft.
And that is where they can move on. Sanchez's contract is over. They rid themselves of the gigantic salary cap mess. And now they have the first pick in an extremely deep draft.
We don't know which QB prospect will make that leap, but there's going to be someone (I think multiple someones). Could it be A.J. McCarron, who has been as steady as you can be for Alabama? What about Teddy Bridgewater or Logan Thomas, both of whom are Geno Smith with much higher upside? Aaron Murray of Georgia has the arm and the pocket presence to be a great pro.
There's a star in that group, and the Jets can hit the reset button with one of them. And we know what a team can do if a top QB pick can pan out.
2) Geno Smith is a star
Obviously this scenario is easy. Smith comes into the league and puts on his RG3 shirt. He puts the franchise on his back and throws 25 TDs and just 6 INTs. He leads the Jets to an improbable 12-4 season, losing in the conference championships. But the Jets find their franchise QB for the next 15 years (Let's not forget that Smith would come at a fraction of the cost his first few seasons).
Smith is the type of QB that players want to play with. He runs around in the pocket, creating mismatches for opposing defenses. He opens up the running game because you never know when he'll take off.
This helps the Jets to bring in skill players. Wide Receivers WANT to come to the Jets. It's their opportunity to play with THE Geno Smith.
Smith being a star sells infinitely more jerseys than Sanchez ever did. Even at Sanchez's best, did anyone really love to watch him play? The NFL is a business, and Smith's skills translate to excitement to the common fan.
3) Geno Smith is average
I recall saying a little while ago that you don't want to be average. But in the Jets case, an 8-8 season might be the best medicine.
Let's say Smith looks decent, showing some flashes in his rookie season. He has some decent games and some had scratchers. An 8-8 season will do what the Jets have needed to do for years. It'll give them a reason to fire Rex Ryan.
Rex Ryan is a circus act. He brings clown shows to ridiculous press conferences, where he makes all these proclamations that land him on the cover of the New York Post. He's an outstanding defensive coordinator but nothing more. He is not an NFL Head Coach.
The Jets have needed a completely new staff for years. And 8-8 will do just that.
They can now bring in a coach that will fit their team. They have a QB in Smith with some promise, but a good coach will maximize that type of skill level. Look at RG3 and Mike Shanahan. Griffin may not have done what he did his rookie season if not for Shanahan and some of the formations and plays he installed. It was the perfect match.
And Smith and (fill in coach) can make that perfect match.
Whether Smith is a star, a bust, or somewhere in between, the Jets have options.
And it sickens me to come to that realization.
Posted by J.S. at 10:24 AM