Geno Smith- slowly becoming a believer once again

I went over a bunch of Geno's games last night to see if I felt differently. For a while, I was on the Geno bandwagon. Then, the more I saw of Geno leading up to the draft, the less I liked him. There were various things, from how he handled guys in his face to mechanical issues to throws into double coverage to a funky system, and I become an EJ guy with Geno being a guy I would be lukewarm on. I still would have preferred Manuel, however, I think you can build a system to Geno's strengths and let him grow, the kid has the potential to be a pretty good QB. Furthermore, I think there are some concepts that the Jets should borrow from WVU's bag of tricks and stylize them for the NFL.

Keep it in the middle

One thing I saw is that Geno was very good throwing to the middle of the field. He was very accurate on the 5-8 yard throws on slants and ins. When he can square up, plant, and throw it to the middle of the field, he puts it on target and throws it with good zip. He puts it in small windows at times, which is something you want to see from an NFL QB regardless of collegiate system. Sanchez can do this on occasion but very inconsistently.

2 different types of concepts that he could work well in my view: the clear out play, which WVU used a lot, and the "levels" concept, a favorite of Peyton Manning.

The clear out play basically lines up 2 or 3 WRs in bunch or trips formation, having the inside man or men running vertical routes. Sort of like so


Hopefully, Cumberland and Holmes will have dragged the coverage up with them and Kerley will be coming clear underneath. Smith and Austin were quite dangerous with the space created underneath, and it also gives the option for Smith to hit the lone guy (Hill in my model) on the come back route.

The Levels concept is one that has been a part of the Manning playbook for a while. Again, you can modify it several ways. You basically have 2 WRs lined up on each other, the outside man running an in route 5 yards down the field while the inside WR runs sort of a square in 10-12 yards down the field. Far WR runs up the field and the TE runs a "seam/divide" route where he reads the coverage and decides to go up the field or run to the post (such as a cover 2, run to the post, a cover 3, run up the seam). The point of this play is to get the linebackers in a high low situation, making it a difficult cover. Sort of like this


This allows Smith to read short to deep. If the backers take away to short in, Holmes a bit deeper should pop free. If a cover 2 takes away both, worst case scenario you dump it to the back. I think this works with a guy like Geno because of his ability to throw to the middle of the field, and his experience with quick hitters.

He also had fine placement on slants, particularly in the red zone. He hits the basic middle routes with consistency and Marty should tailor his WCO towards it.

Cumberland and Hill down the middle of the field

Much has been said about Geno's lack of ability to throw deep. This is two-fold, IMO. Geno does have one major issue- deep throws down the sidelines, particularly to the far side of the field. Many of his passes float out of bounds, go too far, don't go far enough, and frankly I don't think he has the touch or pure cannon to get away with the throws to the far side (against Kansas State, he was picked twice trying to throw to the far right sideline 15 yards down the field because he couldn't get the ball there quick enough/with enough touch to put it over the defenders). With that said, to me his ball placement looked very good when throwing between the numbers and down the seams. And to make use of Hill's size and speed, perhaps he should move to the slot more often. I don't usually like to put big guys who don't have great short area quickness in that spot, but if we can put Hill in a position where he's running down the middle of the field, Geno can hit him. Cumberland is already a noted seam buster and could be one of Geno's best toys on these routes.

Let's put him in some move offense

Geno is not a great runner. This is true. But he does have legitimate sub-4.6 speed. He also moves quickly on his rollouts and bootlegs. Why not institute an offense that is going to take advantage of it? As the Broncos showed with Jake Plummer, you can consistently move the ball with a roll out offense. One thing I don't think we did enough of recently with Sanchez is the roll outs and the bootlegs, where he has at least shown he can somewhat handle. Let's not make the same mistake with Geno. Take advantage of those legs.

Putting Geno is favorable situations will be key (assuming he plays this year). If you want him to wing it down the sidelines and put up big play after big play, we won't go far with him. But if you can keep him grouped in the middle, use the seams to get vertical, and have him run some quick hitters? He can be successful as a rookie.

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