After four years of watching a Quaterback give away games while sprinkling a little awesome here and there just to keep us wishing, it is reasonable to wonder if Geno Smith could turn out the same. After all in just his fourth game he managed an embarrassing fumble akin to the infamous "Butt Fumble", score and all. But lets look at this historically.
Broadway Joe did a nice comparison piece for the rookie QBs in the last four years, Geno vs. other rookie QBs.
I urge you to read it if you haven't already. But I want to go a little further and break down the performance of another rookie from 15 years ago. A rookie that threw for a still record of 11 interceptions in his four first games.
Some of you may already know who I am talking about. Look at the Wins, Pct and Int. That rookie had 575 attempts in his first year with a low percentage. His offensive line consisted of a rookie, two sophomores and two guys that could not hold down a position on the line, being shifted constantly. The only skill position player that was thought to be anything was a young Marshal Faulk. Peyton Manning.
Now am not saying that Geno is anything like Manning,, much less that he will turn out like him. I am just putting his very short career into perspective. Peyton was manhandled that first season. He was a consensus number one pick and was slated to start from the moment he was drafted. The expectations were much higher than with Geno. He also had much more experience in college. I will say that even with that Offensive line Faulk even it out a little. Geno has a comparable cast, perhaps less because the Jets do not have explosive skill players like Faulk, but they do have pro bowl players in the line and dependable targets like Kerley and Winslow.
Peyton had 3 tds vs. 11 ints in his first four games. Yes just three tds. Zero rushing Tds.
His stat line is 81-146 (55%) attempts, 1138 yards with 3 Tds and 11 Ints. With two pick sixes and a fumble. That is with Faulk providing 387 yards rushing and 198 receiving. By contrast Geno Smith has a 57% accuracy 4 Tds, 8 Ints and three fumbles. With the team rushing for 379 yards not counting his yards.
There is one area that I will say that Geno is light years ahead of Mark Sanchez in his fifth year. He can make decisions. He has already gotten rid in his of the ball more thru four games than Sanchez did his whole career. We have all seen him make plays, either passing or rushing, that would not have been asked of Sanchez to pull off. After four years of Watching Mark play I had forgotten that the QB could put the game on his shoulders. Geno is not perfect, but he is showing poise and progress that can be expected of a higher pick. He is making the same mistakes or completely missing all targets. He can pull off the screen, he can run, can throw an accurate intermediate ball and a solid deep ball. Once he gets used to the speed of the NFL he can be great, he has the tools and the disposition. Of course that depends on whether the Jets gives him a better surrounding cast on the offense.
Hopefully he can turn it around like Peyton did, hopefully next year will be the start of a long run of playoff appearances. And it would be a dream if some years from now we can talk about him as we are talking about Peyton today. Based on his first four games we can say that he has not have the worst start to a great career.