Until Geno Smith’s break out performance against the Atlanta Falcons, it seemed that the Jets had a mediocre quarterback who’s claim to fame was being more consistent than Mark Sanchez. In his first four games of the season, Smith completed less than 58% of his passes for only four touchdowns. Yet, even with these unfavorable statistics, Smith managed to overcome the odds when he completed 80% of his passes for three touchdowns against the Falcons. Although his first performance on Monday night football was nothing short of miraculous, the question still remains: Can Geno Smith remain consistent? With a roster that is practically devoid of offensive superstars, it is unlikely that Smith can continue to put up elite numbers game in and game out. While the Jets do have one of the stoutest defensive lines in the league, they can’t always bail out their offense when the going gets tough, particularly against teams that are efficient on both sides of the ball.
Although it’s hard to argue with the Jets impressive 3-2 record, the majority of the credit has to go to the Jets star-studded defense. Along with that, the Jets were fortunate enough to earn victories against teams that are all sub .500 franchises. Their only two losses came at the hands of the New England Patriots (4-1) and the Tennessee Titans (3-2). Assuming this trend remains consistent, Smith and the Jets may find themselves in several predicaments in the month of October. Initially, Smith will catch a break when he faces the winless Pittsburgh Steelers. After that, Smith’s chances of being a consistently prolific passer begin to dwindle, as he will face the Patriots, Bengals and the undefeated Saints.
Yet, even with this type of adversity, Smith has proven he can remain resilient even under this type of pressure. While several critics (including myself) condemned Smith as being a liability for his off the field antics before he participated in the NFL draft, during his professional career, Smith has personified what it means to be a poised and determined athlete. Even if Smith were to lose all the aforementioned games, it would help him evolve to become a more efficient and mature passer than he is now. If Smith wants to reach his maximum potential, he’ll need a better offensive corps that can be tenacious enough to get open on a consistent basis. Although the Jets may not make it to the Super Bowl this year, they at least have a solid quarterback who they can mold into the franchise passer they have been looking for all along.
For now, Smith still has a formidable defense that has been this teams saving grace on several critical occasions. Between their oppressive defensive line that has proficient tacklers in David Harris (42 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and Muhammad Wilkerson (2 forced fumbles and 4 sacks), to their stacked secondary that has Dawan Landry (26 tackles, 1 INT) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (13 tackles, 2 forced fumbles), the Jets are tailor made to give opposing offenses a run for their money. For a rookie quarterback like Smith, having a reliable defense that is capable of making sensational plays not only gives him more confidence, it also casts him in a favorable limelight when he is able to effectively capitalize off his defenses resiliency.
When all is said and done, Smith is simply riding the wave of successful improbability that is his experienced defense and his nothing to lose mentality. Although this type of perseverance may not garner the Jets immediate success, in the long run, this franchise will be better off for having a quarterback who can be both humble and energized at the right moments. While Jets fans may have to be patient with Geno Smith until he finds his groove, thus far he has given this franchise a reason to believe that they can be successful in the near future if he can continue to develop as a passer and as a distinguished leader.