Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg still believes Smith can be a star in the league. Credit: Getty Images
In the eyes of Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, rookie quarterback Geno Smith is improving and can become a “really good one.” But in the final two games of the regular season, Smith will have the chance to prove himself to not only his coaches and his teammates, but a fan base that has turned on him quickly.
The Jets are limping to the end of a third straight season without making the playoffs and Smith shoulders much of the blame for their 6-8 record. He has the second-most interceptions in the league, and three touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his last nine games. But Smith does have four game-winning drives, and set the Jets' rookie passing record.
Perhaps Mornhinweg has to say it – after all, Smith was a high draft pick – but the Jets offensive coordinator is predicting a bright future for Smith.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that part of it. He’s got skill and ability. He’s a bright young man. We’ve talked about this before. He’s got instincts. So he’s got a lot of things, really good things, and they show,” Mornhinweg said. “Now, from afar or if you’re not really in it, it’s probably hard to see the great progress. He’s certainly progressed. We, as a team and as an offense certainly [have progressed]. And he, as a quarterback, has taken some pretty good steps forward and then we’ve taken some steps back and then taken some steps forward. I felt like we had to restart almost a few weeks back. I’m kind of rambling just a little bit there, but that’s kind of the big picture of how I see that. I don’t think there’s any question. I’m even more certain now than I was earlier that he could be a really good one.”
With the Jets out of the playoffs, perhaps the easy part comes for Smith and his offensive coordinator. He can go out there and play loose and free and not be encumbered with unrealistic expectations.
“Everybody progresses at a different rate at really all positions, but particular the quarterback. We’ve talked about this before. There’s a select few who come in seamlessly and are on, typically, fantastic football teams, these types of things,” Mornhinweg said. “And there are others that, man alive, it might take a year or two. Shoot, there have been some really good quarterbacks where it’s taken longer than that. One of the good ways to do it is as the quarterback progresses and gets better, the team gets better and better and you’ve got something special. So, that’s sort of my vision on that type of thing.”