Monday, August 4, 2014

Reasonable Expectations for Jets Quarterback Geno Smith

After a rookie year full of ups and down in 2013, quarterback Geno Smith was ranked dead last among NFL quarterbacks in a recent ESPN poll of 26 league insiders. In response to the poll, Smith said he expected to be “in the top five” by this time in 2015 or 2016. As with almost everything in life, the truth falls somewhere in the middle. My apologies for the cliché.

Smith’s season can be broken down into three portions: The first half of the season, where his QB rating of 71.6 would have ranked him 34th out of 37 qualified quarterbacks if extrapolated over a full season; The third quarter of the season, where a 22.0 rating would have ranked him, well, you can figure out where; And the final quarter of the season, where his 83.6 rating would have ranked him 22nd in the NFL.

Whether you like QB rating as a statistic or not, and it certainly has its flaws, in this case it accurately reflects where Smith was as a passer in each part of the season. Smith’s 43 sacks taken were tied for fifth-worst in the league, and his eight fumbles were tied for ninth-worst. Of those 43 sacks, 28 came in the first half of the season, as did six of his fumbles. Those two stats aren’t included in quarterback rating, but they still don’t help Smith’s overall case.

What does help Smith’s case is looking at the weapons he had available during the third quarter of the season. Smith completed at least 15 passes in 12 of 16 games last season, with the only exceptions being the four straight weeks during that portion of the season. The common denominator in those four games was the absence of Smith’s only reliable target in the passing game, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who left early in the second quarter of the Saints game with an elbow injury.

Read the rest at Pro Football Spot

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