Its been two years since the New York Jets and their fans hit bottom. Yet here we are again, with Geno Smith anchoring the déjà vu of another lost season.
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Nothing against Geno Smith, but as a New York Jets fan he simply represents bad memories. The bad memory of a lackluster season in 2013 and a lost season in 2014. Bad memories of the downfall of our prior coaching regime and the ineptitude they exhibited drafting players. A hilariously bad memory of internal turmoil that started the current coaching regime’s first season, leading to something positive with a predictably grey ending here in week 6 of the 2016 season when Geno took the field Monday night.
Coach Todd Bowles inserted Smith when the game was already over, giving him zero opportunity to provide a spark for our football team. Unfortunately for Geno, this has been a common theme over his NFL career. He got the starting job as a rookie because Mark Sanchez went out injured. He kept the starting job in year two for a bad football team. In year three he cast himself aside with injury. Not once has Smith been able to provide a spark for the New York Jets. This year they desperately need one, but it appears Geno won’t be called upon.
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I’m having déjà vu. Not only do I want to see Geno Smith start for the New York Jets, feelings circa 2013, I’m also deeply afraid of rooting for him once again, feelings circa 2014. I know how that story ends. But when Smith took the field at the end of the Jets’ loss to Arizona, I saw something I hadn’t seen all year from a New York quarterback. I saw passes delivered with real zip on the football. I saw confidence and clear decisions being made. I saw the ball hitting its target faster and our receivers able to make plays. The game was out of reach and Geno had to force things, but he felt like a new leader with new and exciting energy. That was good Geno Smith, itching to prove himself all over again.
Jets’ fans also know what bad Geno Smith looks like. Unfortunately, we also know what bad Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like. Last season was Fitzpatrick’s best as a football player. No one expected him to have a repeat performance, but I never thought he would become the skittish player who got fired from his last team and the team before that. Sure, he’s had a rough career overall. But a great season is usually followed up with an average season at worst, not rock bottom. It’s inexplicable to me that Fitzpatrick continue to start for the Jets, until I remember why he’s here in the first place.
The Jets brought Fitzpatrick back in July because Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg weren’t ready. Geno Smith was and still is the designated second string quarterback. He’s a leftover from the last regime, dead money that is worth keeping around until his contract expires. Yet in reality, Geno is actually a human being who can play football. He’s not unlike Ryan Fitzpatrick, with some tremendous strengths and a propensity to make you avert your eyes. Here in 2016 Fitzpatrick is telegraphing every pass and making Jets football painful to watch. Geno Smith is playing for his next contract with everything to prove, or he would be if he wasn’t on the sidelines.
New York needs a spark, that much is obvious. Yet no one stepped up to deliver one after the embarrassing loss to Kansas City. No one emerged with a spark after Seattle and Pittsburgh dispatched with our football team. Geno Smith could have emerged as the spark, but he did not. A player does not have to be on the field to rally a team during the week. Personally, I want coach Bowles to be this team’s spark, but I’m not sure its in his mild-mannered repertoire.
The look on Todd Bowles’ face Monday night said it all. What do I do now? How do I fix this? Someone please help me. I need a new quarterback. If we lose enough games, then we can draft a stud in the top five of the 2017 NFL Draft. Will I keep my job if that happens? Should I fire Chan Gailey? No matter how much we blitz, our guys still can’t get a damn sack! I know this team is better than this, but right now I think the Browns would beat us.
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Vlogger at BuzzChomp. He’s also a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, as well as an Actor, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in his Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram.
Photo Credits: CBS New York – CBS Local and Elite Sports NY