Is Geno Smith's Job Really Safe as New York Jets Starting QB?
Now, Geno just has to worry if his head coach will blame the loss on him.
To this point, Smith is 39-of-73 passing (53.4 percent completions) for 470 yards, a touchdown and four picks.
Will this be the game that costs the rookie his job? Fortunately for Geno, it doesn't sound that way.
"Well, I thought Geno had his moments, you know," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch. There was no question. Obviously, his numbers would look a lot different if we had caught the football."
There were moments where Smith looked strong on the field. He started off great with a spectacular deep throw to wide receiver Stephen Hill down the seam, but the second-year pass-catcher fumbled after a hit from Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib.
He had another impressive long ball to Hill down the left sideline for 37 yards, a 34-yarder to wide receiver Clyde Gates (who dropped his fair share of passes on Thursday night) and a nice 14-yard hookup to wide receiver Santonio Holmes down the right sideline.
It didn't look great—or even good—on the stat sheet.
Smith went 15-of-35 (42.9 percent), passing for 214 yards (6.1 yards per attempt) and three interceptions as the New England Patriots snuck out of Foxborough with a 13-10 win. Before it started raining at Gillette Stadium, Smith was 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) passing for 94 yards (5.9 YPA), but he saved all three picks for the rain-soaked second half.
"You turn the ball over four times, and you are going to have a hard time beating anybody," said Jets center Nick Mangold, "especially on the road."
Mangold has a point. The Patriots have not lost a game when creating four or more turnovers since 1994.
The Jets are used to a quarterback turning the ball over frequently—former Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez turned the ball over 52 times over the past two years.
In the end, though, Smith made enough good throws (and had enough passes dropped) that the Jets can attribute the up-and-down performance to the typical growing pains of a rookie quarterback.
Should the Jets go back to Mark Sanchez when he's healthy?
It's not like those growing pains would go away with Sanchez at quarterback—if anything, history tells us it would only get worse, and then the Jets wouldn't have the development of a young quarterback to look forward to.
On the plus side, Smith knows that the Jets won't tolerate more of the same.
"It seems like every week I'm standing here saying if I don't turn the ball over, we win games, and ultimately that's what it comes down to," Smith said. "In this league, no matter the yards you get, no matter the time of possession, it's about the turnover battle, and I cost us the game."
So, it looks like Geno won't be blaming it on the rain after all. He'll blame it on himself instead.
The Jets aren't blaming it all on him, either, which is a positive sign that while his performance on Thursday night wasn't ideal, it's not likely to be the difference between him starting and riding the bench.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team news releases.
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