Return to 7: Bills 1, 2014

The expected starter for the Jets is currently Geno Smith. There’s a lot of fans out there wincing at that name but are they right to? I’m looking back at Geno Smith’s performances from the moment he started to the end. Each post will focus more-so on the game at hand rather than the full picture of Geno Smith’s play but still keep the full picture in mind. All videos are posted on twitter in these two threads for Geno Smith’s 2013 and 2014.

I’ve always enjoyed horrible performances from QBs when I’m emotionally detached from them. The games where players face the most adversity is where you get to really take a look at their strengths and weaknesses the best.

I did not enjoy watching this game on October 26th 2014.

I was in the backseat of a car, going from Coney Island to New Jersey for a barbecue. We took the long way there because our navigator had no idea of the actual address so we ended up stuck in traffic going through the city since it was it was the only way he knew how to get there. Through this long congested ride on a Sunday, someone was able to get the game on their phone. Before the ride was over the game was already off. The only viewing experience as a fan I can remember worse than this was the infamous Thanksgiving game in 2012 against the Patriots. I’m not saying the word. You know which word.

This time it’s a much easier game to stomach.

Snap Counts

This game doesn’t need a snap count. Geno Smith barely plays a full quarter before being benched.

Narrative

Percy Harvin is traded for right after the Patriots game. He’s a welcome addition to a receiving corps that is not doing the job. He’s the only player the Jets now have that can stretch the field vertically and be all-around viable. It won’t matter this game.

Geno took an injury in the Patriots game 10 days prior to this one and there’s some possible chance that an injury could be lingering. His accuracy isn’t perfect but it’s rarely as consistently bad as in this game. Rex did have a history of pushing injured players out, Decker’s injury woes were outlined in the Patriots piece. Then there’s Dee Milliner who suffered some lower body injury in camp, was brought out to play in GB to get burned for a huge Jordy Nelson TD before being placed back on the bench due to injury. He wouldn’t come back out for two weeks. Antonio Cromartie supposedly played through the entirety (or most) of 2013 with a hip injury which made him completely ineffective. Rex did nothing for those players, so the chance of him leaving Geno in if injury lingered could have happened.

However, when watching this, I’m going to assume he’s healthy. While the chance exists, it’d just be pure speculative narrative and I like to keep away from those.

The Bills are one of the best defenses in the league at this point. Jim Schwartz has Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, and Jerry Hughes leading this defense to a #2 overall ranking on Football Outsiders DVOA.

Three Interceptions

A cover-1ish look on the pre-snap says that a deep throw could be viable. One safety is close up on the left hash while the other is deep on the right. With the double vertical on that side, as long as the safety commits to the inside the outside one is open. He does that.

Geno opens to the left ready to throw to Harvin under pressure from Kyle Williams and seems to be hit just after he releases the ball. It ends up being somewhat underthrown and floating for either Harvin or Gilmore. Harvin falls down, giving Gilmore a freebie and he takes it away. This likely isn’t intercepted if Harvin stays up, but it doesn’t change that this ball isn’t particularly well thrown.

Another interception comes too soon. Pre-snap has a LB against Jeff Cumberland on the outside, which should be a mismatch considering the tight ends only saving grace is supposed to be his speed. The motion reveals a likely man coverage, and the safety on the left side starting to come down reveals a likely cover-1. As the snap happens, the safety comes down.

That gives the go on another deep throw, however this one is still ill-advised. Geno never looks at the leverage Cumberland has on the LB and simply put, he’s pretty much covered. To make it worse, Geno again underthrows the ball. This time, you can see that he shortens his motion and doesn’t seem to bring his back foot forward. This is a bad play.

Pre-snap shows another cover-1 look. The motion says there’s a good chance of zone, since there’s no way a corner would take on Ivory man to man while the LB takes on Decker. However, because Decker does have a LB over him that makes him the right choice for a first read.

Here Geno steps back and immediately throws. The step back leaves his base very wide again and that may be the cause of his completely shot accuracy as he misses an open Decker and throws into the CB. After this, Geno’s benched.

Cadence

The idea that Geno was injured has some real basis because he’s thrown off of bad mechanics and not had issues this bad before. But we can’t assume that.

However, the Geno believers who ignore this game through excuses are wrong.

Geno does not force the ball to Harvin over and over again at the behest of his coaches. Only one interception is within a 5 yard radius of Harvin.

It doesn’t matter if the plays are scripted. Even if the throws are, most of the receivers he is targeting in this game are open. Only the Cumberland interception would be a scripted throw that has a non-viable target. Every other target in this game is there to be had.

This game is on Geno Smith. You have to accept that and live with it. Geno Smith plays terribly in this game. His mechanics are wild, he’s missing open players consistently, and the throws he’s making past the line of scrimmage aren’t even catchable other than one to Decker and potentially the first interception to Harvin.

Guess what, that’s okay. There are good QBs who have bad games. There are even good QBs that have bad seasons. It happens.

What I recognize when I watch this game is that he had issues in this game that are abnormal within the majority of his games. He does have accuracy that is imperfect and will miss players but at this consistency, seems like an outlier. However, the deep underthrows are absolutely inside of his game. Also However, the Jets saw this year with Fitzpatrick that being unable to consistently throw the deep ball doesn’t stop our offense, and Geno still hits it more often than Fitzpatrick. So this is a low that is possible to hit again but is still unlikely.

But this game is bad. Geno plays bad. He is bad in this game. There are no excuses to be made, and making excuses is being an apologist. You can put this in the macrocosm of the player and look at it that way and fit it into his consistent and inconsistent traits rationally. Or you can look at it in a microcosm and use it as either your leading piece of evidence or an outlier. But no matter how you look at it, it’s bad.

He plays bad, everyone.

More videos found here.

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