When the 2013 National Football League season got underway, the New York Jets were considered by many experts, myself included, to be a bottom dweller. My how wrong we were, five weeks into the year and the Jets have shocked the world with their 3-2 start and look to keep on winning as Rex Ryan continues to coach his way to a contract extension.
The decision to go with Geno Smith was one that took a painfully long time for the Ryan to make. One could argue that he did not even make it, that if not for a boneheaded decision by the coach in a meaningless preseason game against the New York Giants, a choice made in an attempt to win the Snoopy Trophy, that Mark Sanchez would still be the starting quarterback for the Jets.
Sanchez outplayed Smith through training camp and the preseason until injuring his shoulder in that meaningless fourth quarter preseason action. Now Sanchez has had surgery on his shoulder and is out for the foreseeable future and Smith has certainly made the most of his chance to start in the NFL.
All three Jets wins have seen a clutch Geno Smith, who continues to show his ability to guide his team to victory in the latter stages of a game. So what if he has 11 turnovers in four games, he’s been able to right the ship and squeak out victories his team was not expected to earn. Look no further than last Monday’s game in Atlanta for proof. No way were the Jets and their rookie quarterback supposed to march into Atlanta and beat a Falcon team that lost just 3 games a year ago. Because of Smith’s last second field goal drive, the Jets handed Matt Ryan back to back home losses for the first time in his career.
Perhaps more impressive than the play of Geno Smith and the offense is the Jets defense. This unit has been one of the best in the NFL thus far and has not missed a beat without the services of departed cornerback Darrelle Revis, who left in free agency to Tampa Bay.
Although many are still skeptical of the Jets early successes, this team is playing like a contender. With the Patriots looking a shadow of their former selves despite a 4-1 start, and the Dolphins losing back to back games after a quick start to the season the Jets are just a game out of first place in a strangely competitive AFC East.
Mark Sanchez took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons with the team, perhaps Geno Smith has taken a page out of Sanchez’ playbook. Hopefully for Jets fans, he can sustain his success a little longer than his predecessor.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express