NY Jets still have plenty to learn about Geno Smith
The truth is, they knew more about Mark Sanchez after his rookie year than they know about their latest rookie quarterback. Again: Geno may turn out to be the goods, turn out to be the player I hoped he would be coming out of West Virginia.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014, 1:25 AM
Geno Smith provides some bright moments, but there is still a lot of uncertainty around him.
The story of the week wasn’t Rex. It was about Geno. And about quarterbacks.
When it was all on the line for the Giants in the first Super Bowl against the Patriots, when Eli Manning had to make a throw, he somehow did to David Tyree. And the Giants won.
And when it was all on the line in the second Super Bowl against the Patriots, in Indy, and Eli had to do it again, he did it again, this time to Mario Manningham from the shadow of his own goalposts, one of the great throws any Super Bowl quarterback has ever made.
When Joe Flacco needed a big throw to save his team against the Broncos in Denver in last year’s playoffs, he threw it down the sideline to Jacoby Jones and Jones made the catch. The Ravens won that game and went on to win the Super Bowl. You tell me how it happens if Flacco didn’t have the arm and the nerve and the accuracy when his team needed it more than it ever had.
Even last Sunday, when it was fourth-and-the-season for the Packers against the Bears in the cold and snow of Soldier Field, Randall Cobb broke free and Aaron Rodgers hit him for a 48-yard touchdown pass, and that is why the Packers have a home game today at Lambeau.
Point of this short history lesson? If you don’t have a quarterback, and that means a big one, you don’t win the big game in the NFL, the exceptions over the last 20 years — Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson — being extremely rare. The Jets don’t know if they will ever have that kind of quarterback in Geno Smith.
It means that the Jets really are where they have been since Joe Namath left town, and that means looking for a star quarterback in his prime.
When you add it up, you know who the best Jets quarterback has been in four decades, the best by a lot? Vinny Testaverde. He took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game the way Richard Todd did and Mark Sanchez did twice.
We got some bright moments from Geno this season, we sure did, against the Patriots and Saints and then late. But are you sure about the kid? I like him and wanted the Jets to draft him and felt he gave them a guy their fans wanted to watch this season. But I’m not sure about him and neither are you and — clearly — neither are the people who run the franchise.
We have heard so much the past few weeks and spent so much time talking about John Idzik and Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin and even Kevin Gilbride, the outgoing Giants offensive coordinator.
There has been plenty of talk about the Jets having a better record than the Giants this season and being more fun to watch and how because of big, fast, tough young guys on defense — you remember, the kind the Giants used to have? — the Jets might be the team to watch around here for the next few years.
Not without a star quarterback.
And by the way? Most of the time you don’t know with rookies, the Cowboys didn’t know with Aikman and we didn’t know with Eli. Only the lucky ones end up with Peyton or Andrew Luck, or Russell Wilson, or Cam Newton, and know right away they’ve picked a winner. No one in Philadelphia, not the previous Eagles coach or the current one, knew what they had in Nick Foles, who threw 27 touchdown passes against just two interceptions in his second season in the league.
But even after the worst year of Eli’s career, the Giants begin to fix their broken pieces knowing they still have a championship quarterback, no matter how many people have decided he is in decline at the age of 33. The Jets? If you don’t think they have doubts about Geno, even with the way he finished, got them to 8-8, then you weren’t listening to John Idzik the other day when he was sitting there next to Rex Ryan.
The truth is, they knew more about Sanchez after his rookie year than they know about their latest rookie quarterback. Again: Geno may turn out to be the goods, turn out to be the player I hoped he would be coming out of West Virginia.
“I could go on and on about the good things,” Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the day after Christmas, talking about things he saw in Geno that he liked.
There were a lot of good things, despite the three-car pileup after the Jets’ bye week when they looked as if they couldn’t beat Columbia. Just not enough good things to make you want to buy stock in him, at least not yet.
So if Jets fans want to obsess about something, they should obsess about that, because the subject of quarterback is every bit as important as the subject of who the coach is going to be, more important than all the skill-position players in this world.
Mornhinweg is a terrific offensive coordinator, and showed it this season. Kevin Gilbride was the offensive coordinator for the Giants when they were winning those two Super Bowls off the Patriots. But all Gilbride is without Eli is a jockey without a horse. The kind of horse who wins Super Bowls the way Eli’s brother did, and Brady, and Aikman, and Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
Ernie Accorsi, who made the move up in the draft to get Eli 10 years ago, has always said that you need both luck and timing to have a shot at a great prospect at quarterback. But Ernie always added this:
“You’ve got to be right. Because if you’re wrong, it sets you back years.”
The Jets didn’t use a high No. 1 on Geno the way they did Sanchez, that’s how sure they were that Sanchez was going to be a star. They got Geno with a No. 2. And may yet turn out to be right. But take another look at what Idzik said this past week:
“We’re all excited about having Geno as part of the Jets but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn’t change going into 2014. We’ll look at quarterbacks, yes we’ll look at quarterbacks. With that said, we’re very excited to have Geno Smith as a New York Jet.”
But does Geno have the game to be a big guy, or just a guy fighting for the second wild card every year? Do you see him making the Manning-to-Manningham throw someday, or the one Flacco made to Jacoby Jones? For now, listen to what they’re saying in Florham Park. If they’re looking at quarterbacks over there, they don’t know about Geno.
And if there’s another quarterback starting for the Jets next season, what that really means is that the Jets are starting all over again. Again. Third plan at quarterback in six years. One in an endless string of those plans since Namath.
-You hoped against hope that no Knick would come close to taking another shot this season as dumb as the shot Andrea Bargnani took against the Bucks that night in Milwaukee.
But, hey, J.R. Smith certainly took his own shot Friday night, didn’t he?
Then J.R., bless his heart, turned around and tweeted out that he’d earned the “slander.”
Does Smith have the ability to make a big play the way Eli Manning has done in the past?
SIPKIN, COREY/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Does Smith have the ability to make a big play the way Eli Manning has done in the past?
Hey, No. 8, it’s not slander if it’s true.
You think Jets fans have forgotten that there was a time in football when Leon Hess thought Rich Kotite was a better option to coach his team than Pete Carroll?
-You have to constantly remind people who say Johnny Manziel is too small for the NFL that the kid is bigger than Russell Wilson.
Is Johnny Football a sure thing at the next level?
There are no sure things, with the possible exception of quarterbacks taken first in the draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
All I know for sure about this kid is that he’s the most exciting college football player I ever saw.
Let’s see what happens at Texas A&M, and how hot its football program remains, when Manziel is no longer the Aggies’ quarterback.
One more thing about Aaron Rodgers’ pass to Randall Cobb last Sunday?
It wasn’t the ending to the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, but if you’re a Packers fan, it will do for now.
If Iman Shumpert had given the Knicks anything close in November and December to what he gave them Thursday night in San Antonio, how different might the team’s record look?
-You wonder if people will be as forgiving with John Idzik — and as patient — as they are with Rex.
Because, let’s face it, Rex sometimes seems to be as secure with Woody Johnson as Glen Sather is at the Garden.
-It is worth pointing out again that the Giants’ 7-3 record down the stretch was enhanced mightily because of the following quarterbacks:
Two gimpy ones — RG3 and Terrelle Pryor.
Two third-stringers — Matt Barkley and Scott Tolzien.
One second-stringer — Kirk Cousins.
One no-stringer — Josh Freeman.
The Giants didn’t quit, give them that.
But it’s not exactly as if they went up against the First Army after that 0-6 start.
If you’re wondering why John Mara was as spitting mad as he was when he got in front of the media the other day, that’s why.
-You couldn’t tell from Bill O’Brien’s remarks whether he coached Penn State for the past two seasons or did time there.
The people who run college basketball really do have to address the fact that there seems to be more scoring now in college football than in their sport.
There were some fine coaching jobs done in the NFL this season, but how can you think about anybody else but Chip Kelly of the Eagles as Coach of the Year?
Apparently the NYPD doesn’t just think John Miller, the department’s new anti-terrorism guy, just interviewed bin Laden once on television.
They must think Miller captured him.
The Mike Lupica Show is heard Monday through Friday at noon and Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN-98.7.
Read more: http://www.nydailyne...5#ixzz2pX0g6ODW