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Geno Smith: Baby Steps

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Geno has a chance to take a significant step forward against the Bills.

Jared Wickerham

Geno Smith turns the ball over, a lot.  Well gee, Smackdad, thank you so much for that keen insight, we would never have realized that had you not pointed it out to us.  Your depth of football knowledge knows no bounds.

Yeah, well, we all know that.  Many of you may also know that Geno has only five games in his 23 game career where he has not turned the ball over.  Do you know what the Jets record in those games is?  That would be 4-1.  No turnovers, Jets usually win.  Simple right?

Only once in Geno's career has he gone two straight games without turning the ball over.  Those were the last two games of the 2013 season, against the Dolphins and the Browns.

Last Thursday night Geno Smith did not turn the ball over once.  Not coincidentally the Jets came within a blocked field goal of pulling off a big upset of the Patriots in Foxboro.  Now Geno has an opportunity to take a step forward in his development.  He has the chance to go two straight games without a turnover for only the second time in his career.  But this time it would be a bit different.  The last time Geno accomplished the feat it was against the 19th and 24th ranked teams in the NFL in terms of generating turnovers.  Not exactly top notch defenses when it comes to turnovers. This time would be a whole different kettle of fish.  This time it would be against the Patriots, #2 in the NFL in generating turnovers, and the Bills, #5 in generating turnovers.  This time it would include  a game against the Bills, the best pass rush in the NFL in terms of generating sacks, a team which pressures the passer big time.  This time it would seem more like the real thing.

If Geno can pull it off it would be one of the first tangible signs of real progress.  Taking care of the ball isn't all a QB needs to do, but it is a crucial ingredient to sustained success.  If a Jets quarterback  could just do this on a consistent basis the running game and the defense would have a fighting chance to win on a regular basis.  It would be the first step towards competent play at the quarterback position in six long years.  If Geno can manage to punch a few more possessions into the end zone rather than settling for field goals, all the better.

Geno Smith has a chance on Sunday to take a small but crucial step towards proving he can be the Jets quarterback for the long haul.  This is a tough defense.  It will be a challenge.  But if Geno can just give us 200+ yards, 20+ points and zero turnovers it would be a small beacon of hope in an otherwise lost season.  That's not asking for miracles. It's not asking for Geno to carry the team on his back.  It's just asking for decent production, good decision making, and protecting the football.  If he can do that maybe he can develop into a more prolific passer as time goes on.  But it would be so nice to see him at least give us 2 games in  a row of error free football against two of the best NFL defenses at forcing errors.  Give us that, and it becomes easier to be patient about the rest.

Baby steps.  Sunday is a chance for Geno to take some baby steps towards proving he can be a decent or even good NFL quarterback. Let's hope he doesn't fall down trying.