A surprising amount of success in quarterback play is based on faith. A quarterback has to trust his protection will hold. If he doesn't and starts scrambling the first time he feels a little heat, it will be difficult to have consistent successful plays. A quarterback also needs to have faith in his receivers. Think back to Week 2 and Tom Brady's visible frustration. The New England offense leaves its skill players a lot of responsibility. Receivers have multiple options on where to go on any given play depending on what the defense does. It is the responsibility of the quarterback and the receiver to both simultaneously make the right decision. Brady almost always will. His young and inexperienced receivers consistently did not that night and New England's offense sputtered as a result.
Rewatching some of the Jets' games last year it was clear that there were times Geno Smith lacked faith in his receivers. There was good reason. In many cases he placed too much faith in his targets. Take this third down play in the first quarter of the season finale in Miami.
The idea here is simple. Santonio Holmes is going to be one on one with Brent Grimes. He's taking himself to the sticks and cutting inside. He won't be open when the ball comes out. His job is to slip Grimes enough to create the small amount of space necessary for the completion and outfight Grimes for the ball if possible. The quarterback is going to trust his receiver.
It doesn't happen. In a recurring theme, robbed of his explosion by injury, Holmes lacks the ability to create space. Grimes also outfights Holmes for the ball. Series over. Jets punt.
These are the kind of plays an offense needs to be able to execute with a young quarterback. It's too much to ask a guy lacking experience to drop back every time, scan five receivers, and the defense. There needs to be a group of simple plays you can execute in key spots with regularity that put the onus on the receiver. The quarterback needs to be able to trust the receiver, and that trust has to be validated.
While it isn't clear exactly how productive Eric Decker will be, he surely will help the Jets in this area. There are going to be plays they can run and simply trust he will win his matchup.