Geno Smith Victim Of WSJ Smear Job At Jets Camp
Posted on May 11, 2013 by Zennie62
Geno Smith is perhaps the best quarterback ever to run the Airraid Offense, and in the NY Jets, Smith goes to a team that has many of the same concepts that are in it. That much is known to anyone who knows football strategy, but when it comes to the media, ignorance of the details of football playbooks and strategic history is allowed in the newsroom. That was evident in an article written by Kevin Clark for the Wall Street Journal today. Called “Smith’s Real Problem: The Playbook,” Clark’s article is so full of inaccuracies it’s amazing it was written at all. First, Geno Smith talked to me about how the Airraid prepares you for the NFL.
Let’s have a look at it’s many problems: Clark: ”Smith was the grand marshal of an unstoppable offense at West Virginia. In one game against Baylor, he threw for 656 yards. The only problem is he did it in coach Dana Holgorsen’s “air raid” offense, which has as much similarity to an NFL offense as the Knicks’ offense does.”
This is just not true. First, there’s no one kind of “NFL Offense;” there are many “mixed systems” that incorporate elements of other offenses. The New England Patriots Offense has a number of approaches liberally lifted from spread offense systems, and is more like the Airraid than that of any other NFL team.
Second, the Airraid Offense has influenced many of the systems that have been ran in the National Football League over the years. In fact, pattern like the standard short crossing pattern of the Airraid, called “Shallow,” is also of the same name in the Mike Martz Offense, which in turn is an update of the Don Coryell approach. Over the years, so much of the Airraid has been installed in other systems like the Bill Walsh System, that be it West Coast, Airraid, or the playbook drawn up by Steve Spurrier, it’s hard to distinguish from one to the other today. Thus, Geno Smith’s West Virginia Offense has prepared him for the NFL as much as playing for Mike Martz would have. Going from Mike Martz’ Offense to the NY Jets / Bill Walsh system has the same set of transition problems. It’s got little to do with “college to pro” and everything to do with just plain learning another approach.
Clark: It starts with the formations. West Virginia’s offense leans heavily on the shotgun, where the quarterback is lined up a few yards behind the center. The Mountaineers mix and match styles and looks, but the idea is always the same: The quarterback isn’t under center. The Jets’ offense does on occasion, but more often it puts the quarterback directly behind the center before doing a three- or five-step drop. West Virginia ran out of the shotgun 875 times last year; that’s 87.7% of their plays. The Jets last season ran 401 plays in shotgun, 38.8% of their plays. The Philadelphia Eagles, where Mornhinweg coached last season, ran 56% of their plays from the shotgun.This is where Clark is confused between percentage use, and coaching. Just because West Virginia uses the shotgun most of the time, doesn’t mean Geno Smith can’t take a snap from center. Moreover, he did at West Virginia, and he performed well when he did, as you can see here:http://www.footballreportersonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Ql6hB.gifClark:
To compensate, Smith says, he’s working constantly on his footwork. He’s working on sliding his feet and making his drop-steps faster. That will be pivotal, since he rarely had to evade defenders when at West Virginia, since he was so far behind the offensive line. As you can see by the under center gif, what Clark writes just isn’t true. Smith knows how to take a snap, drop back, step-up, setup, and then throw. What Clark missed was a conversation of how unique the West Coast Offense is, even over other passing approaches. It emphasizes footwork, and things like throwing without what’s called a “hitch step” – and that’s hard.