The New York Jets offense could be one of the NFL’s most improved next season with the additions of Eric Decker, Jalen Saunders, Jace Amaro, Shaq Evans, and Chris Johnson. Geno Smith struggled with turnovers as a rookie, but the issues didn’t phase him mentally, as he continued to go out there and fire shots downfield in aggressive fashion. That’s an admirable quality, especially since it sometimes felt like Smith wasn’t set up to succeed as a rookie due to a severe dearth of pass-catching talent. That should change next season, as Decker is a legitimate star at the wide receiver position, and Saunders has the potential to be a playmaking YAC machine.
But the most important steps forward will need to be taken by Smith, because major development on his part would make the Jets offense a legitimate threat. Johnson and Chris Ivory give him a good running back duo to support the passing attack, but it’s ultimately up to Smith to use these new weapons to his advantage. There’s no guarantee that Saunders, Amaro, Evans, or offseason workout star Stephen Hill make an impact this upcoming season, but he does have some safe targets in Jeff Cumberland, the underrated Jeremy Kerley, and David Nelson.
Smith believes he will have a big second-year season, as he told ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini that he has complete confidence in his own ability. He said, “I don’t want to make any statements or put anything out there, but once the season comes, I mean, I expect big things. I believe fully in myself. I have the utmost confidence in myself. I know I have the ability to play in this league.”
I highly recommend following the link above to an excellent column by Cimini, which also includes positive quotes from quarterbacks coach David Lee, who called Smith a “strongly improved player”. I agree wholeheartedly with Cimini’s assertion that the Jets offense could do great things if Smith blossoms, and the Jets organization (from Rex Ryan to Demario Davis to Nelson to Geno) seems confident in their ability to compete for a playoff spot after an 8-8 finish last year. If Smith plays well and the pass defense improves, then the playoffs are well within striking distance.