By Dave Thomas
For the New York Jets and their fans, the hope is that Geno Smith emerges as a franchise quarterback sooner rather than later.
With veteran Michael Vick waiting in the wings, head coach Rex Ryan knows that continued subpar performances from Smith will only lead to more calls for the veteran to step in and run the show. For now, however, Smith is still the guy.
After winning their season opener against a rather mediocre Oakland squad, the Jets have dropped their last two games against the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Yet another NFC foe comes calling this Sunday, that in the form of the 2-1 Detroit Lions.
To date this season, Smith has thrown for 713 yards and three TD’s, but he also has four interceptions to his credit.
If Smith is to convince Ryan, his teammates and the fans that he is the go-to guy, he will have to do a better job when it comes to decision making, specifically not throwing the ball into areas of the field where secondaries are keying in on him. In the loss Monday night to the Bears (27-19), Smith had one interception taken back for a touchdown and threw another in the end zone as the Jets were marching for a score.
Will Jets Be Able To Run On Lions?
If New York is to defeat Detroit, running the ball will be key, allowing Ryan to take some of the pressure off of Smith to go out and win the game for the Green and White.
After three games, Chris Ivory leads the Jets with 190 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns. Ivory was held to 44 yards on 10 carries versus a stout Chicago defense in New York’s second setback of the season.
For Detroit, quarterback Matthew Stafford is already zeroing in on 1,000 yards passing for the season (883 to date), with wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle injury, questionable for Sunday’s game) amassing 329 yards receiving and two TD’s to date.
While there has been concern about New York and Smith’s ability to consistently move the ball, that doesn’t appear to be a major issue in the Motor City. Although Stafford did not turn in a stellar performance in Detroit’s 19-7 win at home last Sunday against Green Bay, the defense more than made up for it, holding Aaron Rodgers to a meager 162 yards passing on the day.
If the Jets and Smith are to even their record at 2-2, the youngster will have to play error-free football, the Jets will need to run the ball, and New York’s defense will need to keep Stafford and company in check. Do all those things and fans of the Green and White could very well be smiling come late Sunday afternoon.
As every other team in the league has to deal with, injuries are slowly mounting for the Jets, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring) and running back Chris Johnson (ankle) look to get healthy.
Heading into the contest, the Jets reported the following injury news as of Thursday’s practice:
Willie Colon (offensive lineman) – calf – limited practice
Eric Decker (wide receiver) – hamstring – did not practice
Dalton Freeman (offensive lineman) knee – limited practice
Chris Johnson (running back) – ankle – full practice
Nick Mangold (offensive lineman) – shoulder – limited practice
Dee Milliner (defensive back) – quadricep – did not practice
David Nelson (wide receiver) illness – did not practice
Muhammad Wilkerson (defensive lineman) – knee – limited practice
For more Jets news and updates, visit Jets Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.