Yesterday, Brian Costello covered a football camp for kids grades 1st through 8th led by New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith in between OTAs and minicamp. Smith leads hundreds of children in coaching drills, and he has established these camps in New Jersey and Miami. During this event, Smith shared some of his thoughts on the future of the Jets offense as well as his progress as a player. Smith offered these evaluations of himself and his team:
"I expect big things from us. We all expect the same thing. We're still growing. We're still competing with one another. Right now I can see us just jelling really like a team that's going some places in the future."
"There's no comparison. Last year I was a rookie. I was learning. I'm still learning, but I was learning the offense. I know the offense. Now, it's about perfecting it. There's really no comparison. It's completely night and day."
"...I tried last year but I was just so engulfed in trying to learn the playbook and getting my steps down and all the little things, that it's kind of difficult to develop that exact chemistry that we want."
"...I can see it this year. It's night and day because I can coach guys up on where I need them to be. ...That's what quarterbacking is. It's about being the coach on the field. That's the position we're in right now. We're still building. We're still developing that chemistry, but as of right now, we're levels ahead of where we were at this time last year."
Supporting Geno's claims are his apparent rapport with Eric Decker in OTA drills. Smith was fairly sharp with momentary bouts of inaccuracy, but what really became clear is that Smith already prefers Decker as a target. Smith notoriously lacked consistent viable receivers outside of Jeremy Kerley in the slot last season, so Decker fills a critical need in Geno potentially turning any corner.
Smith's comments are encouraging. While he did seem to find better footing as QB as the season progressed, a lot about last season left a great deal to be desired. Whether justified or not, most players are going to have a positive outlook on their team in the start of the offseason, it's how they adjust on the field as the season approaches that matters. It's easy to think your team will have a top offense in June.
Although I take Geno's positive outlook with a grain of salt, he is fielding a drastically different offense compared to last season after GM John Idzik signed some of the top names available in free agency. Decker, Chris Johnson, and Jace Amaro will likely breath new life into what was formerly an abysmal offense for the Jets. Meanwhile, the Jets will have an open competition for the other starting receiver position. A plethora of rookies, vets, and camp bodies will compete for the wide open #2 slot that Stephen Hill was originally intended to fill before he did his best impression of Ghost Dad since his initial success. Also competing for a spot on the team are Shaquelle Evans, David Nelson, Quincy Enunwa, Clyde Gates; Jacoby Ford, Jalen Saunders, Saalim Hakim, Michael Campbell; and Greg Salas.
It's becoming increasingly apparent that the job is Geno Smith's to lose, and that new teammate and veteran passer Michael Vick will be relegated to a backup role short of a disastrous performance by Smith in the remainder of the offseason. Hopefully Smith's confidence entering his second year translates into production and a good rapport with his revamped offense.
How do you think Geno Smith and the Jets offense will fare in the regular season? What sort of record do you think the Jets will finish with based on your early evaluation of the 2014 team?