Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 12/19/13
The Turn On The Jets Roundtable is back to debate issues surrounding the New York Jets. Make sure to give all of the writers a follow on Twitter and if there is a question you want to see us debate, leave it in the comment section! What are your expectations for Geno Smith’s final two starts of the season? Joe Caporoso – I don’t have much expectations for Geno or the Jets passing game in these final two weeks. They are facing two quality defenses and the Jets haven’t been able to establish any type of consistency through the air. My hope is that the Jets will let Smith operate a standard NFL offense, instead of attempting to hide to him. At this point, let him sling the football around. An optimist will say that Smith has made progress over the last two games after a dreadful post-bye three game stretch and that he will finish trending upward. A pessimist probably sees a few more pick sixes on the way and no modicum of improvement to his average production. The actual result will probably land somewhere in the middle. Cole Patterson - The truth is that Geno will face ninth and sixteenth ranked passing defenses two weeks in a row. While this may not seem necessarily daunting, remember, Smith is the lowest rated passer in the NFL as of now. That’s out of thirty five. That’s below the likes Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder. That being said, Smith proved effective against the fifth rated pass defense in the NFL last sunday against Carolina. I expect Smith to struggle in the final two games but show some minor progress. He has some upward momentum after decent showings against the Raiders and Panthers. I’m going with the trend here. I imagine he will have a stat-line over the next two weeks in the ball park of: 270 yds passing, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 80 rushing yards. While not spectacular, these numbers could do enough to get the job done the next two weeks. The only concern is that, to this point, Smith has not provided definitive proof of his viability as a franchise quarterback. He has had up games and down games and failed to be consistent. Perhaps he will show us something special these next two weeks. Perhaps not. Dalbin Osorio - Geno’s going against two of the better defenses in the NFL, including one that he was benched against a few weeks ago. Geno has a chance to end his rookie season with four straight good games; considering the situation this past Sunday, on the road against a Super Bowl contender Geno played well. If we look back on Geno’s rookie season and say he played well in 8 games, and had signature wins against Atlanta on the road, New England, New Orleans, an improved Cleveland team, and Miami while going 3-3 against the AFC East, i’d say the season will be considered a building block. He’s looked much better the last two weeks in comparison to the three weeks before. I expect Geno to continue his improved play in the last two games. Over the last two games, he has completed 58% of his passes for 386 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. He has returned to using his legs more as well, which has been a positive development. He’s averaging 8.5 yards per carry over the last two games. This has opened up the offense so much more, and has allowed him to pick up firsts with his legs and evade the pass rush. That should continue as well. It’s going to be tough sledding, but I expect him to continue playing well. Frank Giasone - Geno Smith’s performances have been up and down all season and personally, I don’t expect that to change in the next few weeks. So while it’s not likely to see Geno magically morph into Peyton Manning in these final two meaningless games, there are a few things that I hope to see him improve on: Stop Staring Down Receivers: It’s no secret that Geno has a tendency to stare down his first read. It’s an issue for lots of rookie quarterbacks, but it’s something that I hoped we’d see less of at this point in the season. Geno’s clearly not comfortable in the pocket –an understandable issue considering the offenses struggles to protect the quarterback at times this season– but it needs to change if there’s hope for the rookie to develop into a legitimate NFL QB. Pre-Snap Awareness: Another issue consistent with rookie quarterback’s in this league is pre-snap awareness. The ability to recognize what the defense is showing at the line of scrimmage has been lacking and has led to far too many QB pressures and sacks this season. Geno needs to improve on his pre-snap recognition to limit the amount of unnecessary hits in the pocket. Don’t Be Afraid to Run: He’s shown confidence in his legs late in the season, and he needs to continue that trend. While he’s not your prototypical “running quarterback”, Geno is very athletic at the position. The threat of the QB taking off from the pocket is something that can cause a defense matchup issues, and can add another dimension to an offensive desperate for playmakers. Mike O’Connor – I wouldn’t expect much from Geno Smith in his last two starts of the season.  Despite the Jets being able to let him loose with playoffs out of the question, it’s not like he’s getting any of his weapons back. In fact, Santonio Holmes will likely only see less snaps with the injury and seemingly bad attitude that keeps on hindering his game. David Nelson, Greg Salas, and Jeremy Kerley won’t be able to give him any new leeway, unfortunately. I would like to say that we could see something promising from Smith to close out the season, but what evidence has been there as of late to be able to confidently call that? Connor Rogers - It won’t be an easy finish for Geno Smith and the Jets as both Cleveland and Miami have very respectable defenses. On the other hand, Smith handled Carolina’s defense quite well on Sunday. He threw an ugly pick six, but was in control when given pass protection the rest of the game. The receivers had a few brutal drops (Santonio Holmes) too. I think the Jets will attempt to develop the run game with Ivory, who has really turned it on in the second half of the season. This will open up the passing game more for Smith, who needs to target other players besides Holmes, who will not be on the team next season. He’s had solid chemistry with Jeremy Kerley and Kellen Winslow this season, which is where he should continue to feed the ball. It would be nice to see David Nelson and Hakim Saalim see a majority of the receiving reps with Kerley, giving Idzik a better assessment on both plays for next season. Nelson has done enough to warrant at least a training camp invite next season, while Saalim’s speed brings a ton of potential on special teams and on vertical routes. If Geno can somehow avoid a pick six in the upcoming games, it would be progress considering the caliber of the defenses he will face. He needs to take off as soon as the pocket collapses (which has been often). Use these two games as momentum gainers for the offseason, as he will at least be competing for the starting job in training camp (hopefully with actual weapons to work with). It has been severely down played throughout the week, but Smith showed progression against Carolina. He can immensely help his cause as the starting quarterback with a very respectable finish. The Jets will bring competition in no matter what he does, but the rookie will be back next year with a full season under his belt, which he hopefully has learned from. TJ Rosenthal – I have no expectations for Geno Smith these final two games. There is nothing he can or will do that make me feel any better or worse about  him as the answer long term. Geno won’t throw for 300 yards or play mistake free football. He will perform at best at a slightly higher efficiency and confidence level. This is not a knock on Smith. His options are limited downfield, and his backfield is solid but not overly threatening. If the Jets want to keep Geno in the picture they better try and grab a Josh McCown or Kirk Cousins somehow. Then add some weapons to help the QBs. I’m furious that this organization felt it was ok to just use a season as a test for one 16 game second round QB. Had they been smarter they could have competed for a shot at a playoff run in a down year for the AFC. Smith was not a high enough valued commodity coming in to warrant such a long look. This team deserved a healthy veteran (David Garrard. Ridiculous.) giving things a go until the season was lost . That player could have even been Mark Sanchez for as long as he could be effective but hey, at least he helped win the Snoopy Bowl. Keep me posted when that ring ceremony takes place, I want to be there for it.
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