Jump to content

B. Smith showing signs

Kentucky Jet

Recommended Posts

By BARRY WILNER, AP Football Writer

June 15, 2007

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- The final play. Six seconds remaining, the ball on the 20, no more timeouts. The New York Jets had to score.

Chad Pennington took the snap, faded back, stepped outside the pocket and lofted a pass into the end zone. In the midst of a gaggle of groping players, Brad Smith soared, tipped the ball in the air, then cradled it as he fell to the turf.


The catch was greeted with a few hoots and hollers, about all anyone can expect during a minicamp in mid-June. But for Smith, it was another sign that he can be a playmaker in the NFL.

"Everybody goes hard, whether it's in minicamp, training camp or during the season," Smith said Thursday after working at wide receiver, quarterback and kick returner. "So it's exciting whether it's in practice or a game when you do that. Everybody has to treat every play like a game."

Smith gets a treat in practice because the Jets use him in such a variety of roles. In 16 games last year, he mostly was a wideout, making just nine catches for 61 yards as a fourth-stringer. He also took 18 snaps in the backfield, mostly at quarterback -- he was a four-year starter at the position at Missouri -- and gained 103 yards. He didn't throw any passes, though.

Still, it was that versatility that enticed the Jets to draft him in the fourth round last year. And it's that versatility that could make a valuable piece of the Jets' offense in 2007.

"Brian (Schottenheimer) is very creative with the personnel groups, the formations, the way he's able to run similar plays with different personnel groups, but fit the skill set of the guy he's inserting into that play," coach Eric Mangini said of his offensive coordinator. " He's always done a good job of that, (such as) the way we used Brad Smith last year.

"I think that's a great situation to have, where you do have a lot of people that you can insert into packages, run like plays so there is the buildup of the reps and still get what you want."

What Smith wants, naturally, is more time on the field, and he just might get it. The Jets are searching for a No. 3 receiver after being disappointed by the production of veteran Justin McCareins.

Smith has the size (6-foot-2, 210), speed and hands to be that guy. He doesn't have the repetitions at the position, of course, but that's what minicamps and training camps are for. If he shows enough during the summer, he could find himself with an enhanced role come September.

"I'm a lot more comfortable this year running routes and getting a feel for the offense," said Smith, who told teams before the draft that he wanted to be selected as a quarterback. Now, he seems to have accepted his fate as Mr. Versatility. "I've learned a lot from the other guys -- those are veteran receivers and DBs -- and from just watching how they get off the line and into their routes. We help each other because it helps the team.

"The coaches keep it easy the way they teach everything. And they put a lot of accountability on us to know what we're doing."

It's impossible for Smith to be fully versed in all of his tasks, particularly if he also will be running back kicks, something he hasn't attempted much before. Asked about adding that to his repertoire, though, he smiles widely.

"I look forward to any chance to get on the field," he said. "Returning kicks? Sure. I like having the ball."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was it me or was B. Smith the first down the filed on punt coverage. He was incredible almost always getting to the PR first. He is very versitle, I hope we see much more of him on the offense this year. Not just gadget plays but line him up as a wideout and give him some downs to play with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was uncanny how he was down the field making so many tackles. It was so easy to forget the fact that he was a quarterback the year before. I know on this board we are a bit sensational when it comes to new players and players that are "underperforming". The 3rd and 4th WR position battle will be interesting to see at the very least. We all say the McCareins is overpaid/overrated, since we have seen him play for multiple years. We all see the large upside in Stuckey, but forget to mention the need to adjust to a new role in a new offense in the NFL. Besides those two situations, we are very quick to forget about Smith, but with the learning curve being very steep in the beginning, Smith could make a big jump this year. Even if he only does what he did last year (which was definitely more than the average 4th rounder), he would still be a positive player in a roster spot. But I believe that he, and not McCareins or Stuckey will slide into the 3 spot, at least by mid-year due to his explosiveness and pure athletic ability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love our wide receiver corp. We have two solid starters, a veteran number 3 guy and then 2 young high upside guys in Stuckey and Smith who will probably provide big play options as they better learn the NFL. The only opening left among that group is probably someone who can return kicks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...