The Jets are currently sitting at 4-4 with a second place spot in the AFC East. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has played fairly well up to this point, however at times he simply plays like a rookie. His heroic feats during the Monday Night game against Atlanta helped bolster his hype, but his mediocre play has also raised some eyebrows. During Sunday's loss to Cincinatti, Smith was 20/30 on pass attempts, throwing for 159 yards and two pick sixes. It was a tough loss, but a learning experience for Geno.
Geno is an open minded quarterback who understands that there is room for improvement. His current statistics are as followed: 8 passing touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 1,882 passing yards, 71.6 quarterback rating, and 2 rushing touchdowns. His numbers are fairly good for a rookie starter on a team with a weak receiving core. Smith has improved his accuracy and footwork throughout the season. Despite throwing costly interceptions, Smith has been very calm throughout the growing process. He understands his role and is a game changer when needed.
What is most appealing about Smith is his passion for the game. He has an optimistic attitude when it comes to being a starter on a team that was pegged in the pre-season as a lower tier squad. Smith said: "I just enjoy playing the game. I’m pretty confident in myself and my teammates, that’s where that comes from. I know that with this defense we always have a chance. With the offense, I think we have been moving the ball pretty well, if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot." (New York Daily News) Smith has benefited from a stout defense.
As inconsistent as the Jets have been, Smith feels that it is a crucial part in learning how to be a consistent threat. He understands his flaws and is working each week to fix them. Looking at the Cincinnati game it is easy to see the Jets offense struggled (they only averaged 3.7 yards per play and converted 40% of their third down attempts). One needs to look at some other statistics. The Bengals were able to sack the quarterback 4 times on Sunday (Smith three times, Sims once). It is difficult to be efficient when the defense is constantly pressuring you. So far Geno has participated in three games where he has thrown zero touchdowns and multiple interceptions. This may be startling if Smith was a seasoned veteran, but he still is a rook with room to improve.
Though his game is flawed, Geno has a high ceiling. He was able to craft game winning drives against formidable defenses, and at this point he has utilized his offensive weapons as best as he can. It is hard not to root for Smith and see his potential. His Monday night game against Atlanta was a huge turning point in his maturation as a starter. Smith was methodical completing 80% of his passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. He displayed his ability to play under pressure with poise. Given the circumstances, Smith has played well this season and should continue to do so with time.