Geno Smith To The Jets: Big Mess In The Big Apple

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 27, 2013



The 2013 NFL draft was dominated by linemen in the first round and largely derided as boring by the pigskin pundit-ocracy.

Then it exploded like the night sky on a 4th of July of football in Round 2, most notably with the decision of the N.Y. Barnum & Bailey's to bring the circus back to town in 2013 by producing a roster filled by not one, not two, but three controversial quarterbacks.

Those subdued draft storylines lit up the night sky of the interwebs when the N.Y. Jets grabbed West Virginia's talented quarterback Geno Smith with the seventh pick of the second round, No. 39 overall.

He joins a roster that, as of right now, includes two former first-round picks at QB and two former SEC national champions: third-rate starter Mark Sanchez, controversial cultural lightning rod Tim Tebow and the QB that time forgot, Greg McElroy.

It's worth noting that the Jets aggressively chased BOTH Sanchez and Tebow, trading a total of four draft picks and three players to move up to get Sanchez in the 2009 draft and to lure Tebow out of Denver last off-season. 

Even the panel at NFL Network was shocked by the spectacle. With the Jets on the clock, Rich Eisen, Mike Mayock & Co. universally agreed that there was no way the Gang Green would draft Smith.

Drafting Smith would create too much chaos, too much trouble, too much of a logjam in an already bad situation.

And then the Jets drafted Smith.

Every football fan in America knew that the Jets had already devoted incredible resources to put themselves in their present QB predicament and that there was no way they would draft the talented but unpolished Smith.

And then the Jets drafted Smith.

Every football fan in America knew Sanchez was already un-tradable and un-cuttable and that the Jets would have less than zero leverage to unload him if they drafted Smith.

And then the Jets drafted Smith.

Every football fan in America knew that yet another New York City tabloid bloodbath would follow if the Jets drafted Smith.

And then the Jets drafted Smith.

So here's the Jets QB situation today:

Mark Sanchez -- The Jets traded their first- and second-round picks, and three players, to move up 12 spots to grab Sanchez, a college junior, with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Worth noting that Sanchez had started just one full season, and 16 games, for USC. Also worth noting that his college coach at the time, Pete Carroll, advised Sanchez to stick around and polish his game for one more year. And also worth noting the Jets handed him one of the richest rookie contracts in history, including $28 million in guaranteed money.

For all their effort, the Jets last year finished No. 30 in Real Quarterback Rating (57.5). Sanchez’s personal number was even lower: 55.3 Real QB Rating. Essentially, Sanchez was the worst quarterback in football last year, or close to it.

Tim Tebow – Not content with Sanchez’s performance in 2011, the Jets sent the Denver Broncos two draft picks to land controversial, unorthodox quarterback Tebow before the 2012 season.

Tebow certainly plays a style of football largely foreign to pro football. But he proved himself a winner by turning around the dismal Broncos, leading them to the playoffs, where he put up a big-armed 316-yard passing performance to beat the Steelers and the NFL's No. 1 defense in the wild card roudn.

The Jets then proceeded to let this asset rot on the bench for all but a couple token snaps the entire season, even as Sanchez’s performance spun down the sewer with ever-increasing speed and embarrassment.

It’s worth noting that Tebow’s misunderstood career Real QB Rating of 81.2 was better than that of 14 teams in 2012 – and 26 points better than Sanchez’s performance last year.

In other words: with a perfectly serviceable playoff-caliber quarterback on the bench, the Jets chose to suffer and die a slow death with perhaps the worst quarterback in football on the field.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Geno Smith – Rather than give the playoff quarterback they traded for a shot to prove himself, the Jets dropped a bomb on the 2013 draft when they selected Smith Friday night.

The West Virginia quarterback exploded on the national stage last season with his 656-yard, 8-TD passing performance against Baylor in late September.

But in what was universally agreed to be a bad year for quarterbacks, and with Smith universally agreed to be a talented but unpolished project quarterback, the Jets decided it was a perfectly wicked pisser time to insert him into the three-ring circus that is the team’s offensive backfield, much to the slack-jawed surprise of even the most well-connected football analysts.

What could possibly go wrong?

Greg McElroy – Here’s the real beautiful part of the Jets situation: Lost amid the chaos is the fact that they have what may be a perfectly serviceable, drama-free quarterback sitting at the end of the bench.

His name is Greg McElroy. He was a bona fide A-list big-time college quarterback, who led Alabama to a national title in 2009 and followed up that performance with a senior year in which he completed 71 percent of his passes, averaged a gaudy 9.5 YPA and threw 20 TD against just 5 INT.

The Crimson Tide went 27-3 with McElroy at quarterback, who was selected by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.

We’re not saying McElroy is the fourth-coming of Bart Starr, Joe Namath or Ken Stabler.

What we are saying is that stranger things have happened than a big-time, late-round college quarterback stepping onto an NFL field and proving to be at least mediocre or even better.

At the very least, McElroy is certainly better than Sanchez and his 53.5 Real Quarterback Rating.

The Jets might have saved themselves all this drama and embarrassment if they simply gave the late-round quarterback something more than a token shot in 2012.

But by know we all have to realize the Jets are the drama queens of the NFL – drama queens caught in an abusive relationship, no less.

They’re not happy unless their miserable and dysfunctional. And it certainly doesn’t hurt them that misery and dysfunction sell tickets and jerseys here in the nonstop news cycle of modern sports media.

Only one thing could make the Jets off-season better for the rest of us: Anybody heard from Brett Favre lately?


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