New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith turned over the ball 25 times last season. For a guy who touches the ball almost as much as the center, he’s got to take better care of it. His 12 touchdown to 21 interception ratio was brutal, even for a rookie. It was Mark Sanchez-esque — the maligned butt-fumbler threw 12 touchdowns and 2o interceptions his rookie year. The Jets coaching staff and players have faith this isn’t the second coming of Sanchez.
“We’re not playing yet — we’re not in the stadium yet, people aren’t in the stands — but Geno is a strongly improved player at this point,” quarterbacks coach David Lee said, via ESPN New York.
Smith had a confidence shattering experience at the 2013 NFL Draft, where he attended the first round ceremonies but wasn’t selected until the second round. Now his team is lifting him up. They want desperately for the once timid rookie to be a confident and composed leader.
“It’s gotten away from me telling him exactly what to do,” Mangold said. “Now it’s more of a two-way discussion.”
That two-way discussion is essential as rookies transition into becoming veterans. It’s Smith’s way of getting accepted as a team leader and becoming a voice in the locker room. He’s just got to prove it on the field.
“I don’t want to make any statements or put anything out there, but once the season comes, I mean, I expect big things,” Smith told ESPN.com in a recent interview. “I believe fully in myself. I have the utmost confidence in myself. I know I have the ability to play in this league.”