Geno Smith had the opportunity to regain control of the New York Jets offense, starting as the quarterback for the Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins. This marked a critical moment in his career.
A little over a year ago, the author shared the quarterback room with Geno Smith. During their time together, they often analyzed film, discussed QB mechanics, and got to know Geno as a leader.
One notable characteristic was his soft-spoken nature, which the author deeply respected. Geno remained true to himself, not attempting to be someone he wasn’t just because he held the role of an NFL franchise’s starting QB.
Observers, from a distance, may have misinterpreted his demeanor as pouting or lethargic. They might have made judgments based on brief moments, failing to recognize the countless hours Geno dedicated to studying film and preparing for upcoming opponents.
In truth, Geno possessed a calm and composed disposition, unswayed by his emotions, which is precisely how a quarterback should carry themselves.
The author admitted not being part of the Jets team during the recent off-season and training camp, so they were not privy to the developments since their departure. Nevertheless, they attested to Geno’s commitment with the Jets.
He diligently studied the game tape, absorbed the game plan, and steadily improved despite facing the challenges of being a rookie.
One particularly memorable moment it occurred during a Monday Night Football game in Atlanta last season. Coach Mornhinweg sought Geno’s input on a play, and his response was remarkable.
Without hesitation, Geno articulated, “I want it into the boundary, so it forces the Cover 2 corner to declare faster.” This quick and decisive response showcased wisdom beyond his years, translating into his performance that night.
Throughout practice and games, the author consistently witnessed flashes of Geno’s abilities.
Notably, the victory over the New England Patriots at home left a lasting impression. The game was physically demanding, and Geno exhibited his toughness.
After an early interception that wasn’t his fault, he rebounded, leading the team on another touchdown drive in the third quarter, which he capped off by running the ball into the end zone himself.
In overtime, he guided the team into field goal position, and kicker Nick Folk sealed the victory.
The following week, the author was released, and they signed with the St. Louis Rams without delay. However, they continued to monitor Geno Smith’s progress closely.
Despite facing challenges in November, Geno made a remarkable comeback in December, delivering some of his best football performances to conclude the season with three wins out of the last four games.
During their tenure at Florham Park, one aspect that stood out was Geno’s resiliency. In the initial nine games of the 2013 season, he consistently bounced back after the Jets’ losses.
In the same meeting room, they remember QB Coach David Lee urging Geno to improve each week, and Geno consistently responded to the challenge.
The author acknowledged that they were not privy to the developments since their departure from New York and couldn’t explain why Geno didn’t achieve the success many had hoped for.
They knew that Geno had capable mentors in QB Coach David Lee and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, with the signing of Michael Vick to provide veteran guidance.
Adding Eric Decker and Percy Harvin to the wide receiver corps also seemed promising. However, they emphasized that none of these factors mattered at the moment.
In the NFL, seizing opportunities is what counts the most. Past successes or failures are irrelevant because a new opportunity has arisen.
The past is unchangeable, and the author could relate to being in a similar situation in 2009. Geno was urged to learn from past mistakes and focus on getting better.
This was a crucial opportunity, and his resilience was expected to shine through.
Despite any external opinions or claims that the season was over, Geno was encouraged not to be swayed. He had five chances left to finish the season on a solid note and prove his capability as a full-time starter in the league.
The negativity from doubters should serve as motivation, and he should return to the basics.
Even if it went against his typical demeanor, Geno was advised not to hesitate to speak up and lead the men in the locker room.
The author believed in him and encouraged him to go out and prove himself.