Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 5/17/13
The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back, with an edition focusing solely on New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith.  1. My pre-draft opinions of Geno Smith are documented here and here. I thought he was strong value at #39 and was happy the Jets didn’t use one of their first round picks on him or sacrifice any picks to move up for him in the 2nd round. Prior to the draft I wrote this - In the proper situation, Smith should be a productive starter in this league with the potential to develop into a Pro-Bowler. He remains rough around the edges and if put in the wrong situation, shouldn’t be expected to immediately turn around a bad team. The importance of the Jets grooming him properly was discussed here and if the Jets don’t put too much on his plate this season, he should be fine. This will be a run heavy offense that emphasizes a high amount of screen passes and quick releases to the outside, which plays to Smith’s strengths. It is a good thing the Jets have Marty Mornhinweg running the offense, as he will help Smith’s development in the coming years. 2. I do think Smith is going to be the day one starter. In 2009, Rex Ryan started Mark Sanchez despite him having 1 year of college starting experience and having a good, but far from great summer. Geno Smith has 3 years of college starting experience and I do think he is capable of having a good enough summer that Rex will be comfortable enough to start him. He will have the backing of the front office who will be anxious to see Smith play and move past Mark Sanchez and his contract situation. I have been a noted “Sanchez Apologist” for years at this site and I wouldn’t be stunned if he had a better than expected summer but he’d really need to be leaps and bounds more competent than Smith to get the day one job. 3. I don’t buy any argument that is based on the notion that Smith shouldn’t start his rookie year “because the Jets started Sanchez his rookie year and look what happened!” Everybody who says that now was saying it was a GENIUS move to start Sanchez his rookie year after he had just outplayed Tom Brady in New England for a divisional round playoff win. Sanchez’s issues had nothing to do with starting too soon. They had to do with his own shortcomings coupled with the Jets doing a poor job of building around him, particularly in 2011 and 2012. Smith and Sanchez are different people in different situations. If you hypothetically sit Smith all year on a team that is likely going to be .500 or worse no matter who is at quarterback, what do you do if you are in position to select a quarterback in the top 5-12 of next year’s draft? You would have no notion of what kind of player Smith could be and will be making an uninformed decision. 4. I buy none of the diva talk surrounding Smith. We’ve already discussed how overblown the agent story was and by all accounts Smith is about as high of a character guy as you can find. If he has issues in the NFL, I doubt they will be because he is a “diva.” For the record, most of the garbage you hear about Mark Sanchez’s personality is false as well. Everybody who I have ever discussed him with around the team and who has interacted with him had nothing but positive things to say about his work ethic and personality. He has been an awful quarterback on the field the past year and a half, it doesn’t mean he is a lazy, entitled ******* who never pushes himself. 5. We actually got word from a source the morning of round 2 of the NFL Draft that “there was no way the Jets were leaving the night without Geno Smith,” we hinted at it in this article and on Twitter that day but weren’t 100% sold that it was accurate…clearly it was. The source had indicated that the Jets were heavily considering moving up 3-5 spots to grab him, which fortunately they didn’t have to do and that he was nearly taken with the 13th pick. It worked out well for Idzik and company that he lasted to 39, making him arguably one of the best value picks of the draft. 6. We know Geno Smith is considering Jay-Z and his newly formed sports agency. We only ask that he comes out of the the tunnel to this song…(and that Jay-Z handles his career better than he handled the career of Memphis Bleek). 7. We are going to dig deeper into Smith’s film in the coming month but his arm strength and accuracy in the short to medium game is terrific, along with the quickness of his release. He will need to get himself comfortable under center, improve his deep ball accuracy and his pocket presence, particularly when teams get a push up the middle because he’d show a bad tendency to throw off his back foot. Smith has the ability and athleticism to scramble effectively but doesn’t seek to run frequently. 8. A refresher on Smith’s numbers as a starter at West Virginia…. 2010 – 241/372, 64.8 completion percentage, 2,763 yards, 24 TDs, 7 INTs, 217 rushing yards 2011 – 346/526, 65.8 completion percentage, 4,385 yards, 31 TDs, 7 INTs, -33 rushing yards 2012 – 369/518, 71.2 completion percentage, 4,205 yards, 42 TDs, 6 INTs, 152 rushing yards 9. Some cut-ups worth watching 10. I fully expect Marty Mornhinweg to take advantage of Smith’s accuracy in the short game by utilizing a high amount of running back and tight end screens. Since Mike Goodson’s status is tenuous at best with the Jets right now, this opens the door back up for Joe McKnight to have a larger impact because of his ability to catch the football. Also look for plenty of slip and smoke screens to Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley. 11. As of today, I’m betting Mark Sanchez starts the 1st pre-season game. Geno Smith starts the 2nd pre-season game…and then starts the critical 3rd pre-season game, seizing the opening day job. 12. How are you feeling about #7? Are you buying the jersey already Jets fans?
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