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New York Jets: A Game of Inches

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

I have been rewatching Thursday night's game in Foxborough. When I got to Stephen Hill's fumble, I picked up on something. It was only tangentially related to the fumble, but it was a good example of one of the game's subtleties.

It was the throw to Hill.

The way this play has developed, Hill has the middle of the field to himself as he runs his post route because the safety has been drawn to the receiver at the top of the picture.

Unfortunately, I could not include the video here, but it shows an on target throw. It just wasn't as on target as it could have been. Hill has to adjust to the ball right when he had a chance to blow by Aqib Talib. Hill has to break his stride to reach a little back for the ball. A pass further in front of him keeps him in stride and could have resulted in a touchdown. It would have become a track meet, and Hill can win a straight sprint with just about anybody.

What's my point here? Let's start with what my point is not.

I am not trying to suggest any of the following things:

  • Geno Smith is responsible for Stephen Hill's fumble.
  • This was a bad throw by Geno Smith.
  • Geno Smith should be expected to throw with such precision in his second NFL start.

We simply have a lot of discussion about the varying degrees of quarterback accuracy. This just stuck out of a good example of how miniscule the difference is between a 33 yard completion that leaves the offense with half the field to drive and a long touchdown. There is a difference between accuracy and ACCURACY. Even if Geno Smith develops into the kind of quarterback we all hope he will, it will probably be years before he can make that throw perfectly on a consistent basis.

The teams that have such quarterbacks are at a huge advantage, and that is one reason having a top quarterback is so important.