The bar for rookie quarterbacks is at an all-time high after the seasons that Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson had last year.
This season, the New York Jets entered the year being looked at as a joke. The Jets had question marks all over their offense, especially at the quarterback position. Many predicted the Jets would be the worst team in the league at the season’s completion. But five games into the season the New York Jets are 3-2 and quarterback Geno Smith is coming off his best performance that resulted in him being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
These past 12 months Smith has had to face as much turmoil as an athlete can think of.
12 months ago Smith was a lock to win the Heisman trophy. Smith had just come off a 70-63 victory over Baylor in which he threw for 656 yards and 8 touchdowns. The college football world had fallen in love with Smith and the high powered West Virginia offense. He was praised by both Todd Mcshay and Mel Kiper Jr; and was guaranteed to be the number on quarterback taken in the draft.
A few weeks later, West Virginia had lost 5 straight games and the hype of Smith had faded significantly. After a shaky Pinstripe Bowl performance, Smith’s future as an NFL quarterback was in question. Analysts’ couldn’t predict where Smith would be drafted or by who. He began falling on draft boards but was still seen as the top quarterback entering the draft. Criticism about Smith’s work ethic came out publicly and teams began having mixed feelings towards Smith.
Smith entered the 2013 NFL Draft with hopes of being a first rounder. Many expected despite all the rumors and criticism, Smith would be the first quarterback off the board. Day 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft was over and E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected, leaving Smith sitting in the green room waiting to hear his name called in round two.
The New York Jets selected Smith in the second round to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting job. After an injured ankle in the first preseason game and a horrendous performance in the third preseason game, Smith was given the starting job after Mark Sanchez went down with a shoulder injury.
Now Smith and the New York Jets sit one game behind the division leading Patriots, right in the thick of things in the AFC. Despite his ups and downs, Smith’s three wins this season have all been come from behind victories in the fourth quarter.
He’s looked like a rookie at times, however Smith has the Jets’ locker room believing in him and is showing that he can be the franchise quarterback for the future.