Geno Smith will start against the Buccaneers because of Mark Sanchez’s injury, but he should remain there when Sanchez heals.
Geno might not give the Jets a better chance to win right now. Then again, he might. Smith provides the Jets with a much greater upside than Sanchez does. It’s not like we’re talking about the choice between Geno and, say, Alex Smith – someone who could provide the Jets with ball control and a limited amount of turnovers, allowing the running game and defense to win games for them. We’re talking about a quarterback in Sanchez who has the downside of a gunslinger (turnovers) without the upside of making big time throws and game-changing plays. Even in his 5th year as an NFL starting quarterback, he still makes reads, decisions, and throws that no one with his level of experience should be making.
There’s nothing Sanchez can do that Geno Smith can’t. He hasn’t shown the ability to make complex reads or stick throws into tight windows on a consistent basis throughout his career. He lives in the middle of the field, often opting for the check down before downfield routes have even had a chance to develop. Somehow, he still manages to turn the ball over at an excessive rate. At very least, Geno Smith is certainly capable of dumping the ball off. He also offers the ability to push the ball downfield as well as create with his legs.
No one should expect Geno Smith to have an enormous year. There will be growing pains. However, the Jets have already strongly indicated that Sanchez will not be their quarterback of the future. So right now, they need to know exactly what they have in Geno Smith, and that won’t happen just by monitoring his practice reps. They need to see how he deals with the ebbs and flows of a 16-game NFL season, both physically and mentally. By next offseason, they must know where they stand as a franchise with their young quarterback.