Later in the offseason, I will have a complete breakdown of Geno Smith's rookie year as the second part of our Human Genome Project breakdown. In the meantime, I wanted to look at how Smith fared his rookie year, compared to other rookie quarterbacks in the past fifteen years that started fifteen or more games their rookie years. I listed their stats, and wanted to find some common denominator, some thread that would give us an inkling of how a quarterback will perform in the future. Obviously, this is impossible. It's really difficult to project a quarterback's future in such a simplistic manner, but I wanted to try anyway. Here's what I found:
|Robert Griffin III||2012||258||393||65.6%||3200||20||5||8.1||102.4||30||120||815||7||6.8|
The common thread that I sorted the table by are the yards/attempt. It seems that 7.0 is the (rough) cutoff for the really good quarterbacks. The main exception is Peyton Manning, of course. Smith, as you can see, is just below that number, at 6.9. Of course, that doesn't help us. If he was clearly above 7.0, it'd be easy to feel good about him. If it was clearly below, I'd be nervous. As it stands, Smith is around the threshold, so we don't know much more than before.
As I was compiling the data, a few things stood out to me. The first is that Smith is 6-0 when he rushes for a touchdown. When he runs, the team wins. The second is that his three game stretch against the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and the Miami Dolphins really killed his numbers. Smith barely completed any passes, and heck, didn't really attempt that many, which had a large impact on his other statistics.
The final thing I noticed was that a quarterback like Russell Wilson started the year off rough, and got much better as the year went on. I think the same can be said of Smith. Smith started off doing fairly well, hit that awful rough patch as teams adjusted to him, and then re-adjusted for the end of the season when he started to play really well, and most importantly, turnover-free. Notably, his poor streak came when Jeremy Kerley was out with his elbow injury. Similar to other good quarterbacks, I'm encouraged that Smith was able to recover and get better as the season went on.
As the offseason progresses, we'll have more detailed analysis on Smith, but for now, know that he's in good company with a bare statistical analysis.