In what was one of the most surprising moments of the regular season, Geno Smith managed to put together a perfect 158.3 QB rating against the pass defense and pass rush of the Dolphins. That includes four different throws that after the catch, went for at least 50 yards (2 of which travelled 50 yards before hitting the receiver). However, despite the perfect number- this game still showed many of Geno’s flaws and in just a few redzone attempts spoke volumes on why the Jets offense has shied away from passing as they reach the end of the field.
Trusting Your Wide Receiver
Good Geno’s going to come first, and one of the postives about Geno’s game is that he’s not afraid of be aggressive. This is a tendency that gets him into trouble from time to time but it also allows him to be a potential playmaker. The following gifs all show a QB who’s not afraid to give his receiver a chance on the ball downfield. In the second play especially, despite being under pressure and throwing on the run- he keeps his eyes downfield and still leads his WR into a space where he’s going to have a higher chance on the ball than the DB.
In both plays, Geno tosses up a ball that might get contested, but trusts his WR to get there before the DB and box them out. Decker also makes a strong effort to make sure he’s in front of the DB and leaving him out of position on the ball. This might not seem like much, but trusting your WR to be open when he isn’t open (more specifically in the second one) is something that some QBs will struggle with for a long time.
Quick Decisions Leading to Big Plays
Geno thrives a lot more in the middle of the field than he does near the opponents endzone. When the field is wide open in front of him, he manages to find tight spaces to fit the ball through or even wide open holes in coverage altogether. In the three plays below, quickly processing all the information he sees allows for huge gains; all in different ways.
In the first, the play isn’t as big as the others, but it’s a 6 yard gain on 3rd and 6. Amaro should be covered on his route because he’s going into the LineBacker, but he adjusts when Geno escapes the pocket and Geno notices the LB hasn’t followed so he makes a quick intuitive decision to toss it to him gaining a first. The second is just a beauty to watch, Dolphins bring the house in Cover-0 and pay for it with a perfectly thrown 74 yard touchdown. In the third, Geno finds a quick throwing lane through traffic that allows Kerley to get a huge gain.
Indecisiveness In The Redzone
The Jets have one of the worst redzone offenses this year, it’s no surprise. A lot of fans have been putting part of the blame on Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg which isn’t completely unfounded but as it also turns out- Geno isn’t a redzone savant.
In these two back to back plays, divided by a change of quarter, Geno makes two critical redzone mistakes that could end up costly. In the first, he’s staring down Amaro the entire time as he comes across. LB Phillip Wheeler reads this as him reading the post behind him, but obviously if he realized that it was Amaro this might end up being a pick. In the second, Geno’s indecisive on what to do after seeing safety Jimmy Wilson draping over Kerley and spends too much time focusing on him, missing an opportunity to get Decker a ball that could drive him up the field. Instead, he takes too long and is forced to settle for what he can get.
Abandoning The Pocket Without Purpose
Geno Smith doesn’t have a comforting pocket presence. Although he’s able to understand pressure and escape from it, he’s not as good as being pre-emptive and creating space for himself inside of the pocket. In these two plays, he feels pressure and leaves the pocket in situations where he doesn’t need to and then makes poor decisions afterwards.
In these first set of gifs, you can see Geno gets pressured from the right side but the rest of his line is holding their blocks without issue. Geno can easily step up and let the Right Tackle, Breno Giacomini, keep riding what looks like Dion Jordon outside of the pocket. Instead he bails and makes a poor decision to throw to Chris Johnson, who has a LB shooting towards him.
In this second set, Geno decides to leave the pocket even after he sees an open checkdown in the middle of the field. He does this for seemingly no reason, there’s no one that’s going to be open on this play. There isn’t really even a reason to leave the pocket, a side step to the left will put his line in back in control.
Geno’s a hard player to count on for the future. Although he’s definitely shown growth in an offense that hasn’t been entirely kind to him- he shows a lot of mental mistakes that make you wonder if he can really grow into anything more than your stopgap veteran. The lack of Redzone decisiveness being the trait that’s going to be the biggest deciding factor between his future as a potential starter and perennial backup.
Deeper Look At Every Passing Play On The Next Pages