“I should have checked it down,” the rookie QB said of the pass that was returned 41 yards by CB Captain Munnerlyn for pick-six No. 5 on the season. “It was not a smart decision and it’s something I have to learn from.”
Interception or not, the game might not have gone our way. The Jets were down 10 midway through the fourth quarter at the time, and Carolina’s defense had shown very few signs of bending, let alone breaking, through the first 3½ quarters. Of course, it’s easy to reflect on what could have been, but it’ll get us nowhere fast.
The Panthers game is over and done with, and the Jets have two games remaining on their schedule. Sure, the playoffs are extremely unlikely (it’s the equivalent of winning an eight-game parlay), but our games are still very meaningful for the progress, development and pride of this New York Jets football team.
“Everyone is coming in with the same mentality. That’s to get better,” Smith said this afternoon in front of his Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker. “We were very hard on ourselves today, as an offense and as a team. We looked at things to improve on and we’re going out and practicing with the same mentality as we always do, to get better and to improve.”
“As far as myself,” he added, “just being better with my eyes and feet, making better throws, just putting us in better situations as the quarterback.”
Ultimately, Geno’s improvement will be measured on the field in the form of touchdowns and interceptions, wins and losses.
Like our team’s record from last year (6-10) to this year (6-8 with two games remaining), Smith’s progress might not be easily measured through statistics, but his confidence remains high and the chapter on his rookie season is still in the process of being written.
With just under one touchdown for every pair of interceptions, does the second-round rookie believe he’s done enough to justify the Jets sticking with him under center for 2014 and beyond?
Set to face CB Joe Haden and the Browns this Sunday and a Miami Dolphins defense that led to his halftime benching earlier this year for our regular season finale, things don’t get any easier, but Geno Smith and the Jets won’t quit.
“One thing I do know is that we will stay together,” he said. “That’s been the team we’ve been all year long. We’re a close-knit bunch, we fight for one another. I don’t see any problems with that.”