How Geno Smith, Jets Offense Can Use the Bye Week to Find Consistency

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer INovember 8, 2013

Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) warms up before facing the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Smith's stat sheet reads 8 TD-13 INT, but the New York Jets' win-loss record reads 5-4, and that's all that matters.

That is, until the lopsided ratio of the former begins impacting the other, and history tells us it will. At present, Smith is the only quarterback who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and still has a winning record to show for it.

Since 2009, only two quarterbacks have earned more wins than losses while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns: Cardinals quarterback John Skelton (5-2 in 2011) and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (9-7 in 2009).

Here's how the Jets can make sure Smith isn't the next in that dubious line of quarterbacks, which should also help make sure the team continues to win games.

Determine How, When, How Often to Run the Ball

The Jets have not been afraid to run the ball, to the surprise of many in the Philadelphia area who became familiar with Marty Mornhinweg's tendencies as the offensive coordinator for the Eagles from 2006 to 2012.

In their last two wins, the Jets ran the ball a combined 88 times for 375 yards. Mornhinweg's job was considerably easier in play-calling for those games as a result of the porous run defenses of the Patriots (30th against the run) and Saints (25th). 

A closer look reveals the Jets could be doing a better job of running the ball at certain times:

Jets 2013 balance sheet
Run plays14696343
Pass plays112991010

The Jets' best bet for sustained success is to avoid being one-dimensional. They've done a good job of it so far this year, and a focus on being well-rounded and efficient could make Geno's life that much easier.

They've been much more effective running the ball on second down than the balance sheet would indicate, averaging 4.56 yards per carry on second down—0.4 yards more than their season average of 4.16.

Let It Rip

Geno Smith has thrown the ball 20 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage on 14.7 percent of his pass attempts. That's the fifth-highest average in the league. His 47.5 percent accuracy rate on those throws is the fourth-highest in the league.

That would lead you to believe the Jets should keep having him air it out downfield as much as possible.

A closer look, however, reveals that the Jets might be missing some opportunities to field a more efficient pass attack. 

Geno Smith, by time in the pocket
Time in pocketDropbacks%Att.Comp.Comp %Passer rating
2.5 seconds or less11536.2114736474.8
2.6 seconds or more20363.81578554.168.6

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Smith's passer rating is 74.8 when he gets the ball out of his hands in 2.5 seconds or less, but that number falls to 68.6 when he holds on to it for longer than 2.5 seconds.

Big plays are nice when you can hit them, but getting Smith to throw in rhythm and get the ball out of his hands quickly after the snap has been successful for the Jets when they've been able to do it.

Maintain a Healthy Balance of Scrambling

Geno Smith has the vision, patience and most importantly the speed to be a successful quarterback on the run.

I recently debated with NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon as to whether Smith is truly a better option than Giants quarterback Eli Manning right now and going forward. I went with Smith due in part to his age, upside, and also because he is a dual-threat quarterback. 

Geno Smith on the run
CarriesYardsYPATD1st down1st down %

To this stage in his career, Smith has not run the ball as much as some other quarterbacks he's been compared to. Robert Griffin III had 81 rush attempts in the first nine games of his career, whereas Smith has just 36.

He is only going to take off with the ball when he has a clear lane to do so.

Against the Patriots, defensive end Michael Buchanan broke containment on Smith's 15-yard run on 3rd-and-14. There was no trickery or deception by the Jets, just a big opportunity for Smith to get easy yards against the Patriots in man coverage, with their backs turned, running in the opposite direction.

Once containment was broken, Smith's decision was easy. With a ton of real estate in front of him, he scurried for the first down.

Smith's runs have been a mix of read-option, designed runs and scrambles. There's evidence, however, that the Jets could even afford to ratchet it up a little bit with regard to how much of a burden Smith carries as a runner.

Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or via team news releases.


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