After Geno Smith took care of business on Monday Night Football in Atlanta, it became apparent that the former West Virginia quarterback may in fact have a bright future ahead of him in the NFL.
Against Atlanta, Geno was 16-for-20 for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns. More importantly, the Jets’ rookie quarterback did not turn the ball over once, just a week removed from a four turnover performance against the Tennessee Titans. On the season, Smith has completed 94-of-156 passes for 1,289 yards. Unfortunately, he has thrown just seven touchdowns while throwing eight interceptions and fumbling three times.
Regardless, Geno proved that if he is groomed correctly, he has the potential to be at least a quality starting quarterback on the biggest stage. Here are a few keys that will lead to success for the impressive rookie.
1. Give him easy decisions.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did an excellent job of giving Geno throws that he was comfortable making on Monday night. Coming out of West Virginia, we knew that he had good touch on the long ball. He has proven that, and has completed numerous passes down the field. However, his decision making and accuracy was viewed as suspect at best. Geno looked very comfortable throwing quick slants to his receivers, particularly out of the shotgun. Perhaps this is because it is a timing route in which Geno can receive the snap and get rid of the ball, but whatever the reason is, that combination should be a staple in the Jets offense for the remainder of the season.
2. Establish him as a dual-threat.
Unquestionably, Geno is a passer first. He much rather stand in the pocket and deliver the football, but until he gets more experience reading NFL defenses under his belt, it would serve him well to put the threat of his legs in the mind of defenses across the league. Despite being more of a pocket passer, Geno has better than average mobility. Getting him out on the edge without putting him in harms way too often may lead to easier reads for him over time.
3. Force turnovers on defense.
While many may wonder how a team’s defense can improve their quarterback, it is rather simple, particularly when it comes to rookies. Rookie quarterbacks take their bumps and bruises, they make mistakes, and as a team, you just have to deal with them and hope they learn from it. Geno Smith is not going to have a completion rate of 80% for the rest of the season, and he is going to throw more interceptions. However, if the defense can get the ball back on occasion when he does make mistakes, his confidence will be lifted, allowing him to play at a higher level.