Early struggles could lead to results for Geno, Jets

Ryan Ruppert - September 19, 2013

The Geno Smith lead New York Jets barely lost to the New England Patriots for the fifth straight time in the past two and a quarter seasons. The game had to have been one of the sloppiest offensive games in recent memories in which the Jets totaled 15 first downs, and Tom Brady's offense only 9.

A good example of terrible receiver play was demonstrated by both sides. The rain played a factor, but it was definitely a disheartening effort for the New York Jets core as the Patriots were missing their top two receiving targets in Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski as well as key screen back Shane Vereen, all via injury. The Patriots were fielding a bunch of undrafted free agents as well as Julian Edelman who came into the season with 69 career receptions.

The Jets on the other hand fielded their entire arsenal of offensive weapons outside of third year man Jeremy Kerley, who definitely would've helped Geno Smith complete more than 37% of his passes. We saw an early Stephen Hill fumble set New England up at the Jets 8 yard line for a field goal, as well as countless drops by him and fellow receiver Clyde Gates.

Of course, Geno Smith threw three late interceptions that didn't help the Jets comeback cause, but the play calling can definitely be called into question. The Jets ran the ball 32 times for 129 yards for a 4.0 yards per carry. This isn't ground breaking numbers, but this is the same Jets team that saw their running backs run for only 2.0 yards per carry against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one.

It's not a new discovery that new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg enjoys passing the ball as Philadelphia Eagles fans might tell you. It's one thing to understand a heavy passing attack against Patriots teams of the past that can put up 21 points on you in a hurry. But why, in a wet sloppy 3 point game and rookie quarterback, did the Jets choose to throw the ball so much in the 4th quarter? This is completely contradictory of the ideology that Rex Ryan has preached to the media for the past four years of his tenure; GROUND AND POUND. Why not ground and pound in the 4th, control the clock and at least try to send the game into overtime against a team that is incredibly hard for division rivals to beat?

On top of the fact that it seems as though the Jets have entirely too much faith in players that can't seem to get the job done. Many of Geno Smith's targets were to Clyde Gates, whom dropped a key first quarter touchdown as well as countless other balls that would've resulted in first downs.

Still, these early struggles of a rookie lead team, could prove to to be beneficial for the young quarterback. Geno looked poised as ever during the Jets loss to the Patriots, seemingly not phased by the fact that he was competing against a coach and quarterback combo that have combined for 138 wins. Confidence is key when discussing quarterbacks in the modern day NFL. The ability to make a mistake, shrug it off, and come back firing the next series is one of the most important traits a quarterback can have. Geno seems to have it, or at least does not show the poor body language and disgust in himself that Mark Sanchez has displayed all the way into this past preseason. He doesn't look like he is pre-determining his reads either, and seems to be understanding what coverages he is throwing into.

Any quarterback would be rather shaken after seeing countless balls go through their own receivers hands that could've given them the lead, or lead to a potential score. This may have been the reason that Geno Smith seemed to have been forcing the ball into double coverages late in the 4th quarter. This is one thing that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg needs to stop, as he cannot have his rookie quarterback thinking he needs to save the day with long throws all game long. Run the ball, regardless if it's working, to try to setup some playaction passes in which Geno can use his legs and move around to create open passing lanes, and potentially run for some first downs. It's within the kids skill set to throw on the move. This is not to say that he can't be a pocket passer, as he displayed against the Buccaneers he can. It's important to note that he does not have 'happy feet' which is referred to as constantly moving your feet around the pocket because of fear of pressure. He is a confident, and not at all fearful young man, who can succeed in this league if put into the right position.