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Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Green Day: Talking Geno and Browning

By Rich Cimini

The New York Jets are preparing for a trip to Atlanta -- "Monday Night Football" -- and it has me thinking about the first time I covered a game in Atlanta, Sept. 6, 1992. It was the season opener, and the Jets began a new quarterback era that day with the unveiling of Browning Nagle.

They lost the game, 20-17, but the outcome was the sidebar. The headline was Nagle, who put on a show. He passed for 366 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, injecting hope into a franchise that wanted to distance itself from Ken O'Brien. I remember Jim Sweeney, their blue-collar center, telling me it was the best loss he'd ever experienced.

I thought I'd mention this because there are some interesting parallels between the Nagle and Geno Smith. Consider:
Now Sanchez is playing the role of O'Brien, albeit injured, watching from the sideline as the Jets try mold The Best New Hope into a legitimate NFL quarterback. I use Nagle as a cautionary tale because, as the great philosopher Santonio Holmes once said, "Looks can be deceiving."

Nagle never came close to duplicating his opening-day performance, suffering through a season that may have been the worst quarterback performance in team history. He never started another game for the Jets after '92. Smith is coming off a terrible game that can best be described as Nagle-esque, but -- who knows? -- it could turn out to be just as deceiving as Nagle's inspirational debut.

Moral of the story: Don't judge a young quarterback by one game.

By the way, here's a Smith-Nagle comparison after four starts. Obviously, it's not a flattering measure for Smith:

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ICYMI: Uh, oh. Holmes' hamstring injury is serious and he will miss multiple games. The Jets also could be without receiver Stephen Hill, who has a concussion. ... Backup receiver Ben Obomanu, who had more penalties than receptions last Sunday, was released Tuesday. They have a roster opening and are expected to fill it with free agent receiver David Nelson.