For Jets, It's All About the Quarterback

For Jets, It's All About the Quarterback

By Wayne Root:

I've been in constant contact with my sources back East. And, heading into Friday Night's NFL exhibition game between the NY Jets and the Detroit Lions, I can report that ALL anyone is talking about is the quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

Sanchez will get the start Friday, with Smith set to see significant time as a backup. It's expected that Smith will get the start in Week Two at home against weaker Jacksonville (smart to keep Smith off the field when Detroit's Ndamukong Suh is getting a few snaps early in this week's game!).

After that...head coach Rex Ryan could possibly name the regular season starter in advance of the Week Three dress rehearsal against the New York Giants. If that's a true dress want your first team on the field playing together for more than a half against an opponent that's also going all out.

There's a lot of optimism in New York about Smith. I studied him very closely throughout his college career at West Virginia, long before I knew he'd be a professional in my old stomping grounds (I was born in Mt. Vernon, NY as a true S.O.B., son of a butcher!). I think New York fans are likely to be in for a disappointment, even if Smith does start the season out well.

Here's what I learned when handicapping his games for Las Vegas bets:

  • Smith was at his best against bad defenses, soft defenses who didn't apply pressure, and slow defenses who couldn't run him down. The NFL is full of defensive athletes who are constantly applying pressure. This isn't like playing in the Big East, or getting into a shootout with Baylor and the "sit back and contain" defenses of the Big 12.

  • Smith made very poor decisions when pressured. He would panic and try to force a pass where it didn't belong. He would try to run out of trouble only to run into worse trouble. For every heroic score on a scramble there would be a few plays that hurt his team badly.

  • Smith struggled in less than perfect conditions. He had one of the worst passing days of his career last year on a windy day in Lubbock against Texas Tech. He had no idea how to put the ball where he wanted it downfield. This is going to be a HUGE problem at the Meadowlands in November and December when cold swirling winds come into play. That was a problem for quarterbacks at the old stadium...and it's still a problem at the new stadium. Did you see his bowl game in the snow against Syracuse? Now imagine that against NFL caliber defenses!

  • Smith gets down on himself and his teammates when things aren't going well. That can go away with a little maturity. Will Smith get time to mature as a Jet? Rex Ryan isn't even mature and he's the head coach!

Speaking of Ryan. He's shown that he has no idea how to build or coach an offense. They couldn't ever figure out what to do with Tim Tebow last year. His coordinators know that Ryan has a defensive mindset...and they don't have free reign to be as aggressive as needed. It's easy to see why the Jets were hoping to get a star QB in the draft given what's happened to Mark Sanchez in recent years. From Geno Smith's perspective, this is a very bad fit. He would have been much better off playing for a warm-weather team with an offensive-minded head coach where he could apprentice for a year or two.

Is it all doom and gloom? Well, the Preseason and early season is actually the BEST time for Smith to have a positive impact. Preseason defenses are relatively vanilla. The weather's usually nice (and Friday's game is indoors anyway). And, his legs will never be fresher than they are early in the season. Smith could actually key some pointspread covers this month...and through September if he wins the starting job before defenses (and the weather) adjusts.

I have very strong opinions about the rest of Week One Preseason football. I might have big plays in both Jets/Lions Friday and Colts/Giants on Saturday. Check out the purchase page on this website for details about daily releases and my full season packages. If you want to talk to my representatives for additional guidance, call my handicapping office during normal business hours at 1-877-766-8946.

FOOTBALL IS HERE! And the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the Las Vegas "Walk of Fame" is ready to take you to the winner's circle. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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