This time last year, the Jets coaching staff was in the process of attempting to overhaul the mechanics of rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Now, they’ve moved beyond the fundamentals and are looking at the big picture.
While Smith enjoyed a solid final four weeks to his rookie season, there were plenty of down moments for the young quarterback as well.
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“Well, he’s had an outstanding offseason. It was quite different this year than last year, just with the 16 games of experience,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said on Wednesday. “We talked about all his strengths. He’s a sharp kid — sharp guy. He works hard. He studies hard. He’s diligent — very confident guy. Last year about this time he was like some of these young players that we’re talking about. Things were spinning on him a little bit, which was certainly anticipated. We started our offseason, he’s got the bull by the horns; he’s driving it. [It is] quite different that way. [He is] very confident, very sure of himself with each play. So, that’s a good thing.”
Smith took the majority of snaps with the first-team offense throughout organized team activities (OTAs) and two days of minicamp. Even though Michael Vick looked good last week during the final session of OTAs, the coaching staff seems impressed enough with Smith to say he will get “70 to 75 percent of the reps” with the starters in training camp.
Overall, there is a sense Smith is a more polished player this year. His decision making is better and although his accuracy still isn’t tremendous, it clearly has improved.
The second-year quarterback has also made strides physically.
“It goes all the way back with him to last winter. He was down in Florida sending me text pictures of himself running up and down hills with a parachute behind him. He’s just faster,” quarterback coach David Lee said. “He’s faster than he was. His body’s stronger. He’s been with [head strength and conditioning coach] Justus [Galac], he’s been in that weight room, so physically he’s gotten faster, he’s gotten stronger, he’s lost body fat. When you do all that your mind [is] right and his mind’s been right.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.