Now that the NFL regular season has come to an end, the almost annual debate about who the Jets starting quarterback should be begins anew. However this time around, we think there really isn’t any need for the Jets organization to do anything except to insure that Geno Smith is under center when the 2014-15 season begins.
1. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. In the most inconsistent of seasons in memory, the Jets, if you will recall, would win a game, lose the next, win a game, lose, win, lose, and so it went… However there was one positive. It began with Geno Smith’s benching during the blowout to the Miami Dolphins on December 1st.
What followed in the team’s remaining four games, was a transformation of the rookie quarterback. He passed for just under 800 yards, threw 4 touchdowns ( 2 INTs), and posted a respectable 83.6 passer rating while guiding the team to a 3-1 record. A nice way to end a season; an even better way to begin a new one.
2. There are no other quality starting QBs out there. Who could the Jets bring in either to start or compete with Smith for the starting role? The only one available, now that Jay Cutler has been resigned, is Matt Schaub and he will be signed as a starter by another team leaving just Mark Sanchez to provide any pre-season competition for Smith. Frankly, we can’t see the fans clamoring for the return of outcast Mark Sanchez in 2014.
3. The past track record of rookie QBs who are now elite. Just culling through the past performances of some of the best modern day quarterbacks, one can see why it is usually best to give top draft picks some time to iron out the kinks while their professional maturation takes hold.
Some examples include Peyton Manning 3-13 in his rookie season. Aaron Rodgers went 6-10. Eli Manning 1-6. Drew Brees 8-8 in his first season followed by a 1-6 record in year two. And Cam Newton, 12-4 this season, went 6-10 and 7-9 in his first two campaigns with the Panthers. That’s not to say that Geno will turn out to be another Peyton or Drew, but after an 8-8 start, why not wait and see?
4. Durability. After multiple games with countless hurries, hits, and sacks, Geno Smith managed to start every one of the team’s 16 games in his rookie season. Not a feat worthy of a Pro Bowl appearance, but a noteworthy one just the same.
5. Lack of a talented supporting cast. Seriously, are there any wide receivers or tight ends on the Jets that had opposing teams’ cornerbacks shaking in their cleats? Nelson and Kerley didn’t. And, in case you’re wondering, an injury riddled Santonio Holmes finished the season with just 23 catches for 456 yards and only one touchdown.
To their advantage, before next season, the Jets will be $40 million under the salary cap and own around 10 draft picks which should make them more than able to bolster their anemic offense and thus help Geno Smith improve greatly in his sophomore season. Providing him with talent, in addition to having one full season under his belt, there is no reason why Smith should not garner the starting role next year.
“The team believes in Geno and the way he has played over the last four weeks speaks for itself.” -WR David Nelson