Geno Smith has not exactly been the godsend the New York Jets were hoping for this season.
The second-round pick has struggled since taking over for Mark Sanchez under center, with his stats taking a particularly sharp nosedive in November. Smith snapped out of his slump with a solid showing against Oakland last weekend, though, and he attributed his inconsistency this season to his inability to find a proper rhythm.
“You’re not a robot out there, and at times I was playing like a robot,” Smith told the New York Daily News. “I was dropping back, five[-step] hitch and throwing it. I know that’s the way it’s drawn up in the game plan and the way it’s supposed to be run, but everything isn’t ideal on the field. Sometimes you have to improvise, so I think that’s what [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] was speaking of.”
Prior to the win over Oakland, in which Smith completed 16 of 25 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, the rookie had turned in arguably the worst month of any quarterback this season. Smith failed to record double-digit completions in four consecutive weeks, completing just 39 percent of his passes over that span while turning in an interception-to-touchdown ratio of six to zero. His 20 picks on the year are tied with New York’s other signal caller, Eli Manning, for most in the NFL.
“I think I’d kind of gotten to this zone where I just tried to be way too perfect,” Smith said. “That’s almost impossible to do at any level, especially as a rookie. There were times where I was so caught up in running the play and executing it to perfection, that I didn’t allow my natural ability to take over at times.”
The 6-7 Jets remain alive in the race for the AFC’s final playoff spot, but a loss to the Panthers, who currently hold one of the two wild-card spots in the NFC, this Sunday would likely end their chances.