AFC East: 2013 Week 7 QB Watch

QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith

October, 23, 2013
A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback position:

Rewind: Geno Smith became the first quarterback since the 1970 merger to register four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first seven games. He did it with a 30-27 overtime win over the New England Patriots. It took some luck (see the controversial "push" penalty on the Patriots) and it took some micromanaging by the coaching staff. After a 6-for-10 first quarter, Smith went only 13-for-23 the rest of the way. The coaches dialed it back as soon as he was intercepted for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter. Smith managed the conservative game plan nicely, converting on third down and running when necessary.

Fast forward: The Jets go on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2). This will be one of Smith's toughest challenges, as the Bengals are ranked ninth in total defense. Smith played poorly against the other top-10 defenses he faced, the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 6) and the Tennessee Titans (No. 10). The Bengals aren't a big blitzing team -- they've rushed five or more on only 25 percent of the dropbacks -- but they generate excellent pressure from their front four. They will miss CB Leon Hall, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn Achilles tendon.

New-look depth chart: The Jets made it official Monday, placing David Garrard on the active roster after a two-week exemption. Matt Simms will remain the No. 2 quarterback, according to Rex Ryan. Garrard's job is to carry the clipboard and serve as a mentor to Smith. Garrard, 35, who came out of retirement for this gig, will be paid handsomely -- $54,000 per week, based on his $925,000 salary. If Garrard is pressed into action, the Jets are in trouble in more ways than one. He hasn't taken a snap since 2010.

Prediction: On paper, this isn't a good matchup for Smith. The Bengals are a very good home team, with a talented and physical defense. Prepare for an afternoon of growing pains.

QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill

October, 23, 2013
A weekly examination of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.

Rewind: Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an up-and-down outing in a 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Coming off the bye, Tannehill was rusty and had the worst start imaginable. He threw a pick-six on his first attempt and had a second interception in the first half that put Miami behind early. Tannehill eventually recovered and finished with 194 yards and three touchdowns. But his three turnovers -- two picks and one lost fumble -- were the story. Tannehill now has seven turnovers in the past three games.

Fast-forward: The competition gets much stiffer Sunday as Tannehill travels to Foxborough, Mass., to play the first-place New England Patriots (5-2). Gillette Stadium is one of the hardest places to play for opposing teams. Last year, Tannehill had one of his worst games while in New England, suffering a 28-0 loss in Miami’s regular-season finale. The Patriots are 11th against the pass, and the secondary is playing much better this year. New England will also be fired up coming off a tough overtime loss to the rival New York Jets.

Accuracy question: Tannehill’s accuracy is dwindling. He’s completed only 51.9 percent (40-for-77) of his passes the past two games (against Buffalo and the Baltimore Ravens). You have to wonder if the pressure of carrying the offense all season is starting to take its toll on the second-year quarterback. Tannehill is not getting consistent help from the running game, and he’s been sacked 26 times in six games. Tannehill may be hitting the wall at the wrong time.

Prediction: After a fast start, Tannehill's play has been declining for several weeks. It is hard to imagine Tannehill suddenly turning things around and out-dueling Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium. This is a bad time for Tannehill and the Dolphins to be in a funk. Miami has lost three straight games and could be staring at a four-game losing streak if it can’t change the momentum.