The New York Jets, never a team to fail to surprise the football world during the NFL Draft, did just that on Firday evening with the selection of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Smith plunged down first-round draft boards and was still available at the end of the first-round on Thursday night. With the 39th selection on Friday, the Jets decided to pull the trigger on Geno Smith.
Now while the value in Hayes was there at the 39 spot, this was not an ideal selection for the Jets. Head coach Rex Ryan, who was already on the hot seat as a lame duck coach, is now in an even more precarious position while the Jets sit with six quarterbacks on their roster.
The Jets, which have been a mess for the last two seasons, need to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, David Garrard, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms along with Smith are all on the roster. The media loved the circus the Jets created last season with the addition of Tim Tebow and wasted no time in calling for Smith to be named the starter.
Therein lies the rub, Smith isn’t ready to start. Not on this team. The NFL world was captivated with a trio of rookie quarterbacks that had record setting seasons last year, but the Jets don’t have the offensive firepower and quite frankly, Geno Smith is not in the same class as Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.
Two things need to happen immediately. New York needs to outright release Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. No one would trade a bag of potato chips for either right now as they realize the quandary the Jets have created. Absorb the loss of money the team owes Sanchez, chalk it up as a learning experience. Even if Tebow would agree to stay and adopt another role, jettison him too. He is too much of a distraction.
Keep Smith, Garrard, McElroy and Simms around for training camp. Name Garrard the starter right now. Rlease Simms after training camp and keep Garrard, Smith and McElroy on the roster.
Garrard is not spectacula, and has not played since 2011, but even if the Jets hadn’t drafted Smith, I believe he would have beaten Sanchez out of a starting job. One thing Garrard does well is, protect the ball.
The Jets first game is against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New York. Imagine if the team decides to keep Sanchez and he starts while throwing a pair of interceptions to former Jets corner Darrelle Revis. How sympathetic will the crowd and media be? I realize you don’t make coaching decisions in order to please the fans and media, but stop the circus already and reign in this nonsense.
Allow Garrard to start the first six or so games and then hand the keys over to Smith after he learns the speed of the NFL game.
Rex Ryan is the one in the most awkward of positions regarding this situation. If Sanchez remains and is the starter while continuing to struggle, he’ll eventually be forced to make a quarterback change. If he names Smith the starter in week one and he struggles badly, he’ll be forced to make a quarterback change. Who does he turn to at that point? Does he keep Sanchez on the bench and turn to Garrard?
It’s really an ugly situation for the Jets and Ryan. Smith was a good value pick at 39 for a player once thought to have gone in the top-10 of the first round. Smith comes with his own set of questions and for a team with such a confused state of affairs at the position, he was not the right pick, this team had too many other positions they should have addressed at 39.
Stay tuned though, it’s going to be entertaining if nothing else.