Geno Smith on the Way to Beating Out Sanchez
Although West Virginia’s spread offense doesn’t directly correlate to the NFL, the system strengthened Smith’s spatial-reasoning skills and gave him the freedom to put his imprint on each play.
It’s why the rookie has a real chance of beating out Mark Sanchez to be the Jets’ starting quarterback in Week 1.
Smith didn’t have a playbook in two years in Dana Holgorsen’s system. No pamphlet. Not even a piece of paper.
He learned by watching video cut-ups of the next week’s opponents, taking copious notes to reinforce the visuals and practicing the 15 core concepts (seven pass plays, four screens and four run plays) of the offense.
The rest was up to Smith, who had the freedom to channel his inner Manning and improvise whenever he saw fit.
“He had free rein to check in and out of plays based on the look defenses gave him,” said Spavital, who is now the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M. “We put a lot of pressure on him.”
Spavital said that Smith checked out of as many as 80% of called plays in any given game, an astounding total in an era of control-freak coordinators. Smith called an audible on about 50% of the plays in his 656-yard, eight-touchdown performance against Baylor last September.
Geno Smith was quite autonomous as a college QB. This report, and others, suggest Smith has a real chance of being the Jets’ starting QB sooner rather than later.
In order to be the starter, Smith will have to beat out Mark Sanchez of course, so…yeah. Fortunately for Smith, Sanchez sets a pretty low bar. Last year Sanchez posted an adjusted yards/attempt (AYA) of 5.2, well below the league average 6.89. Sanchez ranked 34th in this measure (behind every other starting QB except Matt Cassel). His AYA has declined three straight years, and Sanchez has never completed more than 56.7% of his passes.
So the door is certainly open for Geno Smith. What kind of player is he? Check out our previous coverage:
- Geno offers hope as a runner, which can be a nice thing for a rookie QB.
- He’s clearly the best 2013 rookie QB. His college stats were much better than the average NFL starter’s were in college.
- His downside is Carson Palmer; his upside could be Peyton Manning.
- At least half of his closest comparable players have been productive NFL QBs.
- He’s the most NFL ready rookie QB.
- See how his college performance fared vs. other QBs using our College QB Stat App.