There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows. Which is to say, the same narrative written about Smith during his rookie season is being written again.
We’ve learned from 19 starts in the NFL that Smith is a starting quarterback who can win games from time to time. But what was reinforced during Monday night’s two-interception performance is Smith is not a franchise quarterback.
It is time for Jets fans to wake up and realize that while their young quarterback is serviceable, he isn’t a building block for the franchise. The time isn’t now to bench Smith in favor of Michael Vick, but the Jets must look long term and realize he isn’t the answer for a team that is consistent quarterback play away from a postseason berth.
Head coach Rex Ryan defended his young quarterback after the game.
“This is not the same quarterback as the beginning of last season,” he said. “I don’t care what people say.”
Ryan is wrong. At his core, Smith is still far from a finished product and the evidence is beginning to mount that he might never get there.
The narrative from Jets training camp was that this was Smith’s team, despite a rookie year where he had the second-most interceptions in the league and was benched several times.
Offseason workouts without pads and in shorts showed a quarterback who was poised and had matured, then training camp reinforced this notion.
But the wheels have come off the Geno Smith bandwagon.
What he is, when everything is right and clicking, is a game-manager. Smith’s own worst enemy is himself, as evidenced by a first quarter interception thrown nowhere near Chris Johnson and a lofted pass to the back of the end zone in the third quarter that was destined for the hands of Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller from the moment it left his hands.
All the Jets are asking him to do is not mistakes, and he didn’t even do that Monday night.
Follow Jets writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.