How did the quarterbacks do last night for the Jets? I thought it was a bit of a mixed bag. Let's look at some of the good and some of the not so good. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't play much so I'll lump him and Geno Smith into one post. I'll try and do one on Bryce Petty at a later time.
Fitzpatrick barely played so we don't have a big library on his work. His best pass of the game was the 43 yarder to Quincy Enunwa that set up the Jets' first touchdown. Fitzpatrick does a lot to make this happen.
What happens here is at the snap Fitzpatrick looks to Jalen Marshall short. This draws defenders in zone to drop down to Marshall when they should be dropping to cover Enunwa who runs a route deeper across their zones.
We frequently talk about whether or not a quarterback's receivers get open for him. Sometimes the quarterback has to make things happen himself. This was nice work by Fitzpatrick.
On the first drive, Fitzpatrick took a bad sack on third down.
Fitzpatrick holds the ball for approximately five seconds. That's a no-no.
At the point where Fitzpatrick realizes he is under duress, he needs to check this down to Bilal Powell. Powell is short of the sticks. There is a good chance he doesn't pick up the first down. You at least give yourself a chance by getting the ball into his hands. Maybe he can make people miss. You have no chance of picking up the first down by holding onto the ball and taking a sack.
For his part, Fitzpatrick even admitted, "I took a silly sack."
On the play before the 43 yarder to Enunwa, Fitzpatrick connected with Enunwa on a 26 yard gain.
Fitzpatrick does a nice job coming off his first read. Jalin Marshall is covered. He identifies Enunwa, his second option is about to run open, properly reading the coverage. The throw is just a tad too far out in front of Enunwa. It isn't so inaccurate that the pass is incomplete, but it forces Enunwa to lay out. Hitting Enunwa in stride means a bigger gain.
The Charoke Peake touchdown was a thing of beauty. Geno recognized he had single man coverage on Peake, and it was the matchup he wanted. He knew exactly how deep Peake would run the route and put the ball right on the money.
Here's an 18 yard completion to Jeremy Ross. Again, this is a great job recognizing the matchup. He's got Ross, a wide receiver, against a linebacker. That's a mismatch.
He can rest assured Ross is going to win his matchup so he can trust he knows Ross is going to win even before he's gotten separation. Again, the throw is on the money as he knows Ross' route perfectly. There might be some chemistry in camp developing among the second teamers.
Now let's look at a nifty presnap read Geno made.
He correctly identifies that Jalin Marshall going vertical (red) is going to run off the cornerback, opening up the area to Ross to run a route to the sideline. He dumps it to Ross, and Ross makes a play. Sometimes winning quarterbacking is simply about getting the ball out quickly for a positive gain and seeing whether your guy can make a play.
Where it seems like Geno had problems was when his first read was not there.
On this play, he is locked onto Jalin Marshall and rushes his throw. He has more time to see what else is there. Had he waited a little longer, Kellen Davis seemed to be creating a lane further down the field. With Davis' size, a well placed ball to his right would be tough to defend.
Let's move onto a third down play where there is blame to go around.
The incompletion is partially on Jeremy Ross. He doesn't do enough to come back to the ball. This is a winnable 50/50 ball if he fights for it.
Again, though, it feels like Geno is locked onto his read instead of going through his progression. This throw wasn't a terrible decision, but there did seem like an easier throw to complete within his line of sight. Jace Amaro seemed to be open.
So I think you have to give Geno some of the blame for this. If he throws this pass to Brandon Marshall instead of Jeremy Ross, it's probably a completion. Still, part of the quarterback's job is to throw the pass with the highest probability of success. This seems like an easier completion to Amaro so it doesn't seem like he made the right read.
Here's a play where Geno panics after his first read isn't there.
His footwork just falls apart as he senses pressure, and the throw is off target due to his feet. He has time to complete this checkdown. Tyson Alualu is on the ground. This play isn't destined for great things, but it could pick up a yard or two or three to make a more manageable third down. It's always better to walk away from a play with some yardage than none. Shorter downs open up more of the playbook.
This was part of the mixed bag that was Geno's night. You really have to love some of the throws he made when his presnap read was correct, and his first target was open. You couldn't throw some of those balls better. Going forward in the preseason, I'd like to see him improve going through his progressions and showing more comfort when he has to move onto his second and third reads. That in many ways is the difference between being able to quarterback in this league.
I'll finish with one last play.
Geno fumbles this snap. The snap does come in a little low, but this should still be easily handled. There is some good here. Geno doesn't try to do too much. He eventually recovers to gain control of the ball and then just gives himself up once he sees it is a broken play, and nothing is there. He doesn't turn a bad situation into a catastrophe by trying to do too much. He even slides, sparing himself an unnecessary big hit.
After a bad play, you live to see another day. Turning a bad play into a catastrophic play can lose you games. One of Geno's biggest flaws in his career has been turning bad plays into catastrophic plays as much as any quarterback in the league. He didn't here.
Even in a lot of Geno games where he statistically avoid catastrophic plays, there is some dangerous move that did not turn catastrophic by the grace of luck. I didn't see any such plays in this game. This was the closest, and he handled it well. So that is something to be happy about.