A very wise man once said a thing about insanity. Sometimes that speech ends in being pushed into a pit of death, and other times the classic quote is delivered in a much more civil manner, something like this…
That man was a deep thinker, though he wasn’t nearly on Johnathan Cyprien’s level. It seems the Jets may be about to violate the very essence of our insanity laws in their attempt be reach new levels of incompetence, if such a thing is possible.
When the Jets report to camp at the end of this month, a true quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will begin. Despite his overall status as a bitter disappointment and the fact he was replaced by Greg McElroy last year, Sanchez is the early favorite, a term I use in the loosest way possible. Although it’s not much to fall back on, Sanchez’s experience may be enough to trump Smith’s raw-ness.
In an ideal situation, Smith will be given time to develop under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, while Sanchez aims to at least provide performance which hovers around league average (hooray?). Winning six games last year despite key early injuries, and despite Sanchez’s 26 total turnovers is sadly quite the accomplishment. And hell, who knows, maybe in an offense with a remotely respectable running game led by Chris Ivory, and with Santonio Holmes healthy, Sanchez can be less awful, and at least sufficient enough to keep the Jets clawing for a playoff spot.
That’s the most optimistic scenario which comes complete with many rainbows and sugar fairies, but it could be the best situation for Smith’s future. The worst would be Sanchez’s suckage continuing, and then head coach Rex Ryan would then feel pressed to insert his rookie quarterback far too early in an effort to save his job. Smith then risks being Blaine Gabbert-ed.
Or wait, maybe this is the worst scenario, for all involved (from Rich Cimini)…
The coaches are toying with the idea of turning Smith into what Tebow was supposed to be last season — a change-of-pace quarterback (assuming he doesn’t win the starting job). Smith would have a package of plays, mainly read-option runs that could exploit his speed. The upside: It would give him some game experience, albeit in a gadget role, and add a wrinkle to the offense. The downside: He wasn’t very productive when West Virginia called designed runs, which wasn’t often. Smith, who considers himself a pocket passer, gives the impression he wouldn’t be thrilled in that role.
If you’re thinking is ever “let’s make this rookie into Tim Tebow” then just stop thinking. The final destination there is always failure, which the Jets discovered last year when — despite much preseason work and anticipation — Tebow was hardly integrated into the offense, and he received just 32 carries throughout the season before being passed over when Sanchez mercifully needed to be replaced.
Sure, Smith would get on the field, which is only some small bonus gravy here. He’s mobile, but in terms of his running ability, he’s no Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick. As Cimini mentions, Smith’s legs were rarely utilized at West Virginia, and over his entire collegiate career (four seasons) he rushed for just 342 yards, which includes -33 yards during his junior year. To compare, in an offense which showcased his running ability much more efficiently, Kaepernick ran for 4,112 yards during his time at Nevada. Yep.
If Sanchez wins what could be one of the most comedy-filled quarterback competitions in league history, Smith doesn’t have the ability to be a Kaepernick (before he was given the starting job after Alex Smith’s concussion, Kaep rushed for 89 yards on just five carries in similar sporadic spot duty). Summoning his inner Tebow which doesn’t exist will only end in more tears.
Either start him, or let him sit, watch, and learn.