Geno Smith learning on the fly

Geno Smith needs to avoid rookie mistakes or he will lose his job

10/1/13 in NFL   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Karl Klug (97) sacks New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) forcing a fumble that is returned for a touchdown during the second half at LP Field. Tennessee won 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsGeno Smith has been learning the hard way in his rookie season with the New York Jets.  Smith was awful in Tennessee, making a plethora of bad decisions that cost the Jets the game Sunday.  Smith threw two interceptions and also fumbled the ball twice.  Both interceptions and both fumbles were rookie mistakes that are part of the learning process for the Jets young quarterback. 
In the first fumble, instead of sliding and avoiding getting crushed, Smith tried for extra yards and left the ball out for an easy strip that led to a Titans touchdown.  The second fumble was even worse as the rookie quarterback tried to move the ball from one hand to another behind his back at his own two yard line, which was a recipe for disaster.  The Titans recovered and took it in for the easy touchdown.  Both interceptions were thrown in tight coverage and are mistakes that need to be fixed.
The Jets threw Smith into the fire thanks to an injury to Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez will now miss the rest of the season, as he will have surgery on his shoulder that will sideline him for the next four to six months.  Jets fans aren’t too concerned with that news as Sanchez days with Gang Green look to be over and done with.  The question remains if Smith is the Jets quarterback of the future or if they need to find someone else to lead them.  It’s still too early to judge Smith, who has played just four games and is 2-2.  He’s thrown eight interceptions and fumbled the ball three times so far this season.  Both are far too high for Rex Ryan’s liking, but it’s something you have to deal with. 
Smith didn’t necessarily win the job as he became the starter more by default.  He isn’t a Russell Wilson Aug 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Matt Simms (5) escapes the pressure of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Everette Brown (57) and linebacker Adrian Robinson (49) during the second half of a preseason game at Metlife Stadium. The Jets won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports or an Andrew Luck or a Robert Griffin III.  Last year’s rookie class of quarterbacks was one of a kind and we may never see a years as good as that ever again.  Smith is going to need to learn on the fly this season under offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.  They have clearly shown confidence in him throwing the deep ball as Smith has shown some promise with his arm, especially last week in a win against the Bills.  The key is cutting the turnovers and the mental lapses.  If he’s going to run with the football, he needs to secure it and not leave it out for defenders to swipe at.  Instead of throwing a ball into tough coverage, he needs to learn to throw it out of bounds and keep it away from defenders.  These are all mistakes that can be fixed and mistakes that must be fixed if he wants to keep his job. 
It’s still very early, but there have already been rumblings of Matt Simms taking over.  It will take a couple more performances like Sunday’s in Tennessee for Smith to make that happen, but it is very much a possibility.  He clearly has talent and the ability to be a threat down the field and with his legs, but there are still question marks.  The 22-year-old is going to have to work hard these next couple of weeks and buckle down and make sure to avoid mistakes.  He has a defense that has kept him in ball games and he will get running back Mike Goodson back this week from suspension.  The road ahead won’t be getting easier for Smith and the Jets though as they face the Falcons, Patriots, Bengals, and Saints in four of the next five games. 
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