This past Sunday, the NFL made its long-awaited return and there is plenty to look forward to in this upcoming season. Besides all eyes being on Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, there are a few 2nd-year and rookie quarterbacks to watch out for. Jets QB Geno Smith is one of them. Smith made his NFL debut this past Sunday and he played well. After stellar performances last year by rookie quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck , RGIII and Russell Wilson, Smith is expected to raise the bar this year for rookie QB’s around the league. Sure, he had highs and lows during the game, but he settled in and seemed to get more comfortable as the game went along, going 24 for 38 (63%) passing for 256 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also led the team in rushing with 47 yards on 6 carries. When your quarterback leads the team in rushing, that alone tells you one problem the Jets will have to deal with this season. Smith’s performance was very impressive, especially with it being against a superb defensive team in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who now have former Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is still considered one of the best corners in the game.
Right away, we see that Smith has found his go-to target. He is developing great chemistry with tight end Kellen Winslow. Winslow caught seven passes from Smith for 79 yards and a touchdown. The most important statistic to look into is Smith’s accuracy. In his first game, Smith delivered the ball with more accuracy than last year’s starter Mark Sanchez, who completed just 55.1 percent of his throws. One advantage is his mobility. Smith has the ability to run for yards and get first downs on his own if need be. This is a totally different quality that Sanchez does not have in his game. When it appeared Smith’s hard effort would go to waste after Bucs’ kicker Ryan Lindell booted a 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds to go and the Jets being down by two, Geno responded by leading the team on a 50-yard drive. Smith showed his intelligence to run out of bounds as he was hit, moving the Jets up 15 more yards after a personal foul penalty. Jets kicker Nick Folk knocked in a field goal with two seconds left and ultimately sealed an 18-17 Jets victory.
With one week and one victory in the bag, Geno Smith is currently “The Man” in New York right now. One thing in his game that has not been seen yet in the 23-year-old rookie his how he is able to adapt to pressure on the road. He’ll get his first crack at it when the team heads to Foxboro to face the division rival New England Patriots. If Smith can have another quality start against Tom Brady and the Pats, it will be very tough for Rex Ryan to reinsert Mark Sanchez (when healthy) at any point during the season. This will certainly be something fun to watch.
Sports Notes: (Basketball) Knicks guard J.R. Smith re-signed with the Knicks this summer for 2 years for about $24 million dollars. How did he thank the Knicks’ front office? By receiving a 5-game suspension at the start of this season for failing the leagues’ substance abuse policy. (Baseball) The Yankees look to make one last push for a wild card spot. In order to do that, they must take care of business against the Boston Red Sox (in Boston) starting tomorrow night. (Football) It’s big brother vs. little brother as Peyton and Eli Manning go head-to-head for just the second time in their careers when the Broncos visit the Giants, who are coming off a 6-turnover game in Dallas.