Jets fail to capitalize against aching Steelers

Ryan Ruppert - October 17, 2013

While the run defense continues to be stifling, the New York Jets continue their inconsistency in the 2013 season with an ugly loss versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team who always seems to have the Jets number. It's generally accepted that when a defense holds the opposing offense to 19 points, they generally should be able to generate enough offense to overcome that margin and grab the victory.

Geno Smith didn't adhere to the formula of playing into the hands of his defense by keeping the ball safe for four quarters. Two interceptions deep in Steelers territory crushed two promising scoring drives that could've kept the game within one score in the second half. One can hope that Geno will gain some consistency and be able to overcome these early struggles to become a successful big time quarterback. The jury is still out though, with games like this, coming after remarkable performances that garnered him compliments such as 'poised' and 'confident.' These remarks, of course, are very similar to the ones that Mark Sanchez received early on in his career.

The comparison should not be made between the two, although many can argue that Mark Sanchez's career may have led a different path if he had a coordinator like Marty Mornhinweg available early on. Still, Geno shows the ability to sustain drives and generally keep the chains moving to keep the defense well rested on the sidelines. His knack for the big play keeps most 2nd and 3rd and long plays well within range, especially being a big strong-armed guy. He showcased this arm on a would-be touchdown to Stephen Hill in the second quarter, although he narrowly missed the tall speedster.

While Jets fans have gained higher hopes for this season, it's no surprise that Geno and the offense struggled against the Dick LeBeau coached defense. LeBeau has a record of 15-2 against rookie quarterbacks in the league as the Steelers defensive coordinator. This is primarily due to the exotic blitzes LeBeau likes to throw at young quarterbacks, which only lead to 3.0 Steelers sacks on the day, but multiple quarterback pressures.

Geno may still seem to be somewhat of an unknown commodity, but his promise is certainly enticing. His ability to throw strikes between the 10 and 20 yard marks is something that the Jets may not have seen since Vinny Testaverde in 1998. This is an important quality that needs to not be ignored when talking about a young and extremely raw passer. The Jets need to maintain this confidence in the young man and determine whether or not he is going to be their quarterback of the future. To maintain this confidence in Geno, consistency around the team needs to be kept, which means keeping him around the same coaches and system so that he can grow within that system. One can dream that Jets management realizes this and does everything in their power to allow him to succeed in the future.