AFC East: QB Watch

QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
10:45
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A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback position:

Smith
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: Jets' Geno Smith

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback play:

Rewind: In a word, Geno Smith stunk. He threw two interceptions and lost fumbles, gift-wrapping 28 points for the Tennessee Titans. All four turnovers were his fault, and he accepted the blame, apologizing individually to defensive teammates after the game. The rookie says the right things; now he has to do the right things. His turnover count has ballooned to 11, testing the patience of Rex Ryan.

Smith
Fast-forward: The Jets (2-2) face the disappointing Atlanta Falcons (1-3) on Monday night on the road. The Falcons can be had. There could be opportunities to make big plays in the passing game, as the Falcons are allowing 11.8 yards per completion (27th in the league). The New England Patriots' Tom Brady ripped them up last Sunday night, striking downfield off play-action. Of course, that doesn't mean Smith will have the same success, but we all know coordinator Marty Mornhinweg likes dialing up those deep balls.

All wet: It could be a coincidence, but Smith's worst games came in rainy conditions. In road losses against the Patriots and Titans, he had one touchdown pass and five interceptions. At home, in nice weather, it's three touchdown passes and three interceptions. What does it all mean? Unless there's a leak in the roof, Smith won't have to worry about wetness Monday night in the Georgia Dome.

Prediction: Smith is facing a desperate team on the road, not to mention a Mike Nolan-coached defense that can cause confusion for young quarterbacks. This could turn into another painful learning experience for the kid.

QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback play:

Rewind: Geno Smith enjoyed the best game of his young career, becoming the first rookie in Jets history to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns. He attacked a depleted Bills secondary, completing five passes of 21 yards or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information. For the season, he has completed nine passes in that category, tied with the Packers' Aaron Rodgers for the league lead. On the downside, Smith threw two more interceptions, bringing his total to six. As a comparison, Mark Sanchez didn't throw his sixth interception as a rookie until his sixth game.

Smith
Fast-forward: Smith faces the Titans (2-1) in his second road start. He will encounter an aggressive 4-3 scheme that likes to play man-to-man coverage. The Titans are ranked seventh in total defense and they can pressure the quarterback (nine sacks), but it's not a frightening unit. Opposing quarterbacks have an 85.9 passer rating against them. Much will be made of the Smith-Jake Locker matchup. Smith has seven turnovers; the Titans' quarterback has been turnover-free.

Music City memory: Every time he plays a solid game, Smith creates separation from previous starter Sanchez, who still hopes to play when he returns from injured reserve in November. Smith can really widen the gap if he plays well in Nashville, of all places -- the scene of Sanchez's demise. With the chance to get the Jets back into playoff contention last December, Sanchez threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in a "Monday Night Football" loss that resulted in his benching. A big game by Smith will show, if only symbolically, that the team is better off than last year.

Prediction: Smith's patience will be tested because the Titans don't give up a lot of big plays in the passing game. If he can avoid being overly aggressive, he has a chance to have a highly efficient day.

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