Geno Smith had a 7.6 passer rating in the game against the San Diego Chargers, It's hard to explain just how bad that is. On the year he has a 69.3 passer rating, good for dead last in the league. He's completing 58.1% of his passes, which is good for 30th in the league, while throwing 4 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, tied for most in the league, as well as two fumbles. He's been sacked 8 times, which is around average in the NFL and he's had 7 passes dropped by his receivers, again very average (18th) and nothing other quarterbacks don't have to deal with.
On that basis alone, does he deserve to start in the NFL? Probably not. The fact he missed a team meeting due to a west coast time error isn't as big a deal as some are making it out to be. Yes it is disappointing and yes it sets a terrible example, but no, I don't think it means he doesn't care or that he isn't taking the teams struggles seriously. Everything we've seen from Geno suggests he cares, from the demeanor, the players only meeting he took charge of and even the cursing at the fans that led to several ridiculous stories about his attitude and maturity.
Now we see the stories regarding whether he should be benched in favor of Michael Vick. Everything I wrote in the first paragraph may lead you to believe I'm in favor of this move, I'm not! In fact I'm dead set against it. Let me first say that I didn't mind him being pulled at half time, a temporary spark was needed and he was removed before any further damage was done to his confidence. However this team is not one quarterback away from contending. It's not even one good quarterback away from contending, let alone a very average one, which Vick is at this stage in his career.
Michael Vick is 34 years old and was declining his final two years in Philadelphia. At best he can give us average output this season, in a year where we stand absolutely no chance of challenging for a title. That still leaves us with major question mark next year. It doesn't help us long term, in fact it could probably hinder us. If Geno continues to perform at his current level. We can probably win 1-3 more games this season. Finishing with a record that is between 2-14 and 4-12. Ultimately leaving us with a top 5 selection in the draft and maybe even the #1 overall selection. If Vick plays, we'll probably win between 2-5 more games. So we'll finish with a record of 3-13 and 6-10, without a playoff birth and probably only a top 15-20 selection. If Geno improves, and we finished around 5-11 or 6-10, then that allows us more flexibility going into next off-season and the draft.
Geno is only 21 games into his career. I understand that we no longer can afford to let quarterbacks develop for 2-3 years before starting. Those days are over. However lets give him 32 games to truly ensure we get the right read on this quarterback and we don't give up too early. Right now, I will admit that this selection looks like a mistake. He looks as though he'll never be a franchise QB. At the moment, that's what it looks like. However the important phrase there, is at the moment. If Geno continues at this level, I'll have no problems moving on from him this off-season and I doubt anyone else will, however we owe it to our 2nd round draft selection of him, to give him a go.
If we had a promising young QB or even an unknown quantity, then I'd be fine with sitting Geno, because he hasn't done anything to show he deserves to start and it would be our entitlement to see what the young guy had. However we know what Vick can do, and we know he is not the future of this football team. Winning 6 games this year means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Finding out who the true Geno Smith is means everything to an organization that is trying to build for the future.
Now I don't want to make any excuses for Geno because his play has just not been good enough. However he is playing behind a truly horrendous offensive line. Only Nick Mangold is in the top 40 rated players at his respective position. Our starting wide receiver on Sunday was a guy who's on his 4th team in 3 years and another who's on his 3rd team in 2 years. The player promised to improve this unit has been plagued with injuries all year. Now I'm not saying that Geno is not to blame for a lot of this, but it's tough for a guy to succeed when his offensive line has as many holes as a sieve.
Finally I'm coming to this word accountability. Something we all have suggested Rex needs to hold his players to. Some will suggest that Geno doesn't deserve to start and by benching him, we are holding him accountable for his performances. To an extent that has truth in it, however to me that would be "cutting off the nose to spite the face", a self destructive attitude that has it's merits but will offer us very little in the long term construction of the team.
Of course this is just my opinion and when presented with the facts outlines in paragraph one, it's very hard to defend Geno Smith. However right now, I feel as though the best action to take is no action in terms of a QB change. No player wants to under-perform, no player will want to have the media and fans question him and his peers consider him one of the worst players in the league. My choice would be to stick with him.