How deep are Jets' problems?

Debating whether Geno Smith should start in 2014 and how to fix team's issues

Updated: December 12, 2013, 2:50 PM ET
By Mike Sando and Matt Williamson | ESPN Insider

Geno SmithJeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesHas Geno Smith done enough to be the New York Jets' starting QB in 2014?

Geno Smith, embattled rookie quarterback for the New York Jets, has a league-high 20 interceptions through 13 games this season. He is keeping decent company. Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Jay Cutler also threw 20-plus picks to this point in a season in their careers. Stafford actually had a lower passer rating and similarly dismal Total QBR score back in his 2009 rookie season, a reminder that first-year players tend to struggle, particularly when paired with vastly undermanned rosters.

Of course, some young quarterbacks never seem to recover from harrowing experiences suffered early in their careers. The fact that Stafford improved after struggling early assures nothing for Smith. The key for the Jets is to figure out how to improve their team in general and, specifically, their quarterback situation. Is Smith the long-term answer in New York? ESPN.com NFL scout Matt Williamson and NFL Insider columnist Mike Sando diagnose the Jets' problems and offer solutions.

Can Smith improve?


Williamson: It's time to worry about whether Smith is going to deal with David Carr syndrome. There are so many things working against him. The Jets even put Matt Simms in the game a couple of times this season, because they don't have anyone else. To give Geno the benefit of the doubt, this really should have been a redshirt year for him. He was probably less ready for Week 1 than any recent QB I can remember. He was highly productive in college running a spread system from the shotgun and throwing to small, quick guys, but he never took snaps from behind center. Everyone has a hard time as a rookie adjusting to the pro game. He had never taken the drops from under center in what is more or less a timing-, rhythm-based West Coast offense the Jets are running. I'm not saying he was a bad fit, but it's a rough transition.


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