As the offseason truly begins to ramp up with free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s time to examine just where each position group stands. And, clearly, it begins with the most recognizable position on the football field: the quarterback.
There was plenty of bad to be had for the Jets at the quarterback position: 30 turnovers (28 by Geno Smith, two by Matt Simms) against just 13 passing touchdowns and about 3,100 yards passing. Factor in the number of sacks allowed, and the Jets finished 31st in the league in total passing yards.
Geno looked utterly lost at times on the field, holding the ball too long many times and forcing the ball into tight areas other times. That resulted in the huge number of turnovers he had (21 picks, seven fumbles) we saw for the Jets on the offensive side of the ball. At one point, the average time he held on to the ball before being sacked was well over 3.0 seconds, an eternity in football terms. And when he “tucked” it to run, he didn’t protect the ball either.
It got so bad, Rex Ryan had to bench him in favor of Matt Simms, who showed a little something during the preseason, but a lot of nothing when he came on in his only meaningful playing time of the year, when he played the second half of the game at Miami in Week 13.
Moving forward though, the Jets may have something to work with in Smith. There were pockets of brilliance as he hit receivers on the hands in one of the most difficult passes to make in the game – over the linebacker, but underneath the safety on seam routes. Those passes are what really stand out when watching Smith. And after that benching in the Cincinnati game, his game steadily improved and he held on to the ball much more carefully.
The Jets do need to find some sort of veteran presence on the roster, and no, Mark Sanchez does not count. That ship has sailed and it would be best for both of those sides to part ways after five mostly tumultuous seasons.
The Jets would be well-served to look at strong back-up candidates for the position, including Josh McCown, who did wonders in place of an injured Jay Cutler for the Chicago Bears, as well as Chad Henne, Matt Flynn and David Garrard.