Smith, who is competing with incumbent Mark Sanchez, also is being used in training camp as a read-option quarterback. Smith is a more athletic runner than Sanchez and could provide a change of pace in New York offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s new package.
The Jets were ranked 30th in total offense last season and lacks depth this year. A successful read-option package by Smith help could breathe new life into this group.
“I’ve obviously done extra work in studying it and making sure that I’m not only on the right page with the wide outs and tight ends but also on the right page with the running backs and fullbacks when we do meshes,” Smith said to New York reporters Friday. “So it’s just something that you’ve got to pay attention to and it’s something that’s really going to pay for off for us. I think it’s going to be a good weapon if we happen to use it during the season.”
The idea may have shades of Tebow-mania from 2012. Last year the Jets tried to use popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow as a change of pace to Sanchez in Wildcat packages. However, Tebow was ineffective and taking Sanchez in and out the game threw off his timing and rhythm.
However, Smith (unlike Tebow) is considered the quarterback of the future for the Jets. New York has to get Smith game experience sooner than later, and this is one option if Sanchez wins the starting job in training camp. The read-option offense also was more successful than the Wildcat last season.
The competition between Smith and Sanchez is still wide open. Every throw will be under the spotlight between these two quarterbacks, but Smith remains confident about his chances.
“It’s up to the coaches,” Smith said of the decision. “I just evaluate myself. I don’t worry about any of that other stuff and I feel like at this point I’m at least close to where I should be. Am I perfect? No. Am I making good strides? Yes. So I think as long as I stay on that track I’ll be fine.”