So here we are. A quarterback change is made. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jets will start Geno Smith at quarterback when they play the Ravens Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
This will go swell for sure when Jets fans expect a timely interception from Smith. One wonders if it’s really a good idea to have him start at home in front of the disgruntled fans, but that’s where the Jets are at 1-5. They are desperate to get offensive production from Smith after Ryan Fitzpatrick has been awful for the Jets at quarterback this season.
There’s no question a change in quarterback had to happen. The Jets have gone six quarters without scoring a touchdown. Fitzpatrick has thrown 11 interceptions this season, and he was coming off a dreadful performance which he completed 16 of 31 for 174 yards and an interception in the end zone on Monday night in the Jets’ 28-3 loss to the Cardinals. He hasn’t moved the offense all season.
Still, starting Smith does not make the Jets any better. He’s an interception-prone quarterback. He does not move the offense at all. He does not have the makeup to be a leader. He’s not well-respected by his own teammates. The Jets fans have no use for him.
It’s hard to be confident when Smith has 43 career turnovers and 27 touchdown passes. Plus, he has a 11-18 record as quarterback with a 57.9 career completion percentage and 71.9 passer rating. Smith brings baggage and negative energy. His presence will be a distraction when he plays his home games. The fans will expect him to fail, and that does not inspire confidence within the players. That’s why it does not make sense to start him this Sunday.
The Jets need to make a quarterback move that would have the fans engaged for the rest of what is a loss season. Smith does not do that. Starting Bryce Petty does. Jets fans know what Smith is after watching him start for two years. Petty is unknown, so there is a curiosity about him.
It makes sense to see what Petty has right now. 10 games are a good sample size to determine what he can do. If he is not the answer after watching him this year, the Jets can start over at quarterback.
They probably are going to eventually. It’s doubtful Petty and Christian Hackenberg are the answers for the Jets. The next great quarterback for the Jets is in either in high school, college or in the free agent market. The Jets have had a hard time solving the quarterback puzzle since Joe Namath left, so they are going to try again until they get it.
Meanwhile, Smith will be the quarterback. He should look at this as a temporary job and nothing more. Unless he engineers so many wins for the Jets to the point Todd Bowles’ coaching job might be saved, he’s holding the fort until Petty eventually starts this year. The Jets have to see what Petty can do. If he does well, maybe he is their franchise quarterback to build around. If not, the Jets are going to have to draft a quarterback in next year’s draft.
Starting him with five games to go does nothing. It’s going to be hard to judge him when he has limited games to work with. Petty would give the Jets a spark. He would get players to play hard for him. He would bring the crowd life. He would bring hope. That’s why it does not make sense Smith is starting this Sunday.
Bowles is starting Smith because he wants to win games. He wants to salvage his job and the Jets’ season. It’s just that it’s not a good idea. Smith hasn’t showed he can get it done. This is nothing more than desperation for him. This should have been Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan’s call. He should have told his head coach to start Petty rather than start Smith.
Who knows if Bowles really wanted to make a change? He has to know Smith is not the answer. If he felt that way, Smith would have start the second half rather than play in garbage time of the fourth quarter on Monday night. If he had his way, Fitzpatrick would start Sunday.
Bowles has to mollify Jets owner Woody Johnson and the disgruntled masses, so he made this move to start Smith Sunday. He knows better.
Smith is playing for a job for another team. He’s not going to be with the Jets next year. He’s a free agent, and the Jets are ready to end this failed experiment with him. The only question for him is this: How long until he cedes his job to Petty?
Photo by Lynda Wagner