Judging by the back and forth between the Jets’ brass and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s camp, it appears both sides are dug in rather deep, and if that holds true until the start of next month’s training camp, it’ll mean Jets fans will have to accept riding the Geno Coaster.
Geno Smith, the much-maligned quarterback since he was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, could realistically be Gang Green’s No. 1 guy to start the season. And for Jets fans who think there’s a slight chance that Smith could be usurped by either second-year pro Bryce Petty or rookie Christian Hackenberg, they haven’t been paying attention to reports coming out of organized team activities (OTAs).
Hackenberg, the strong-armed neophyte from Penn State, has expectantly looked like a typical rookie. His passes are fluttering – particularly the intermediate routes -- his footwork is robotic, and he tends to rely on arm strength, which leads to sailed passes.
Bowles has admitted that his rookie “looks sloppy” at times, but reasoned that with the amount the defensive coaches have thrown at him at OTAs, it’s understandable.
“There’s going to be a growth period,” assured Bowles, adding that he fully expects Hackenberg to feel “more comfortable in training camp.”
Petty, who’s primarily worked with the second unit, hasn’t acquitted himself much better – despite having an extra year of experience than Hackenberg.
Sure, it’s still early in the process, but it just goes to show how little the Jets have in the quarterbacking department, sans Fitzpatrick.
Smith, however, could make a compelling argument that the Jets don’t need to overpay for the bearded one. Judging by his career numbers when he has actual talent to throw to, he’s looked more than serviceable.
If the same supporting cast surrounds Smith, as it did Fitzpatrick during his career year, last season, it’s plausible that the former West Virginia star could regain his mojo. And considering that Smith was designated as the starter before the IK Enemkpali mess, Smith could gain a stranglehold on the gig and never relinquish it.
Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are a decided upgrade over what Smith was throwing to during a rookie campaign when he tossed 21 interceptions. His receiving corps consisted of guys like Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, and Kellen Winslow Jr., so it’s obvious to see why Smith was a below-average quarterback with that stable.
Decker, who was brought in to be the Jets’ primary target at the start of the 2014 season, has shown he’s obviously not really a No. 1 option. But paired with Marshall, second-year speedster Devin Smith, young tight end Jace Amaro, and one of the game’s great receiving running backs in Matt Forte, this supporting cast gives any quarterback hope to succeed.
The age-old debate of which position makes which better between the quarterback and receivers is usually up for contest. But when it comes to Smith and his plethora of receiving options, it’s safe to say that the surrounding cast is certainly up to the task of carrying the inconsistent signal caller.
Gang Green notes:
- The numbers suggest that Smith can play above his means when he has at least a serviceable receiving corps. When he has good wideouts, his numbers spike (52.3 QBR and 60.5 completion percentage) compared to the aforementioned struggling group that was led by Kerley (14.8 QBR and a 47.9 rate).
- Judging by the Town Hall event that the team held last Wednesday for 1,000 season ticket holders, the Jets faithful apparently doesn’t have as much faith in Smith as Bowles claims he does. The meet-and-greet included Bowles, general manager Mike Maccagnan, and team owner Woody Johnson. The questions were Fitzpatrick-centric and according to reports, a chorus of boos erupted any time Smith’s name was brought up, and even a “We Want Fitz!” chant made its rounds throughout the night. Good times all around.
- Linebacker Darron Lee is still one of 10 first-round picks who has yet to sign his slotted rookie deal. It appears there’s still some haggling over the amount of guaranteed money being offered.