Wednesday, September 25, 2013
QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith
By Rich Cimini
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.
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.