Thirteen games into his professional career, Geno Smith is just as much of an enigma today as he was the day the Jets drafted him.
The mood is riding high once again after Smith had his best showing in weeks, but we’ve been on this seesaw ride one too many times during his rookie year.
Whenever Smith has teased us with greatness, he’s followed it up with disappointment.
Smith’s Total QBR rating of 87.3 on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders was higher than his past seven starts combined. The game that preceded his downfall, a Week Five win over the Atlanta Falcons, came after an abysmal effort in Tennessee.
Until Sunday, Smith hadn’t thrown for more than 200 yards since October 20 and last completed 10 passes in a game on October 27.
Chances are you’ve heard those numbers mentioned recently, but it’s worth repeating because it magnifies just how terrible he has been.
Two of Smith’s final three starts are going to come on the road, which means we’ll most likely be seeing at least another bad outing before the year is over.
So what are the Jets supposed to do going forward?
There’s no clear answer because it’s obvious Smith isn’t a finished product just yet while the talent around him is certainly lacking.
General manager John Idzik, and whoever his head coach is next season, are going to have the unenviable task of determining which part of Smith’s issues can be blamed on inexperience, his supporting cast, or Smith himself.
What we do know is we’re entering Week 15 and the only real consistency Smith has shown is inconsistency.
Though the wide receivers haven’t exactly been a huge help, the argument could also be made that Smith hasn’t been a huge help to them.
As Alshon Jeffery of the Chicago Bears continues to emerge as one of the best receivers in the NFL, Jets fans point to the fact that the Jets blew it by drafting Stephen Hill just two spots before him, and wonder how differently Smith’s season would’ve gone had they made the right choice.
Considering Jeffery was the seventh receiver taken in the 2012 draft, every other team in the league can also claim their quarterback would look better throwing to him too.
Jay Cutler, Jeffery’s teammate in Chicago, is in the final year of his deal and could become the best available quarterback in the offseason.
Whether Cutler would be okay backing up Smith if he lost a competition in training camp is unknown, but the idea of a Cutler-Smith combination at quarterback sounds a lot more enticing than going into next year with Smith as the only viable option once again.
Drafting another quarterback early, though not out of the question, would likely set back the rebuilding plan by yet another year.
Mark Sanchez is still under contract with the team, but there is very little chance he returns given the salary he would be owed.
Just as no team wants to regret passing on a player like Jeffery, giving up on Smith and potentially watching him flourish elsewhere would be even more maddening.
The unknown is what’s most frustrating about Smith, but that’s why Idzik gets paid as much money as he does. Fans can wonder what might’ve been for Smith if he had better players surrounding him, but it is Idzik’s job to ensure those same questions aren’t asked again next season.
If Smith doesn’t progress and get his act together, and Idzik is unable to come up with any solutions to help him thrive, then they’ll both find themselves on the unemployment line.