I, Robot? No more for Jets' Geno Smith

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm •  Published: December 11, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Geno Smith was more R2D2 than NFL quarterback for a few dismal weeks.

Playing stiff and pre-programmed, the New York Jets' rookie signal-caller just needed to loosen up and let his skills take over.

"It just comes down to playing football," Smith said Wednesday. "You're not a robot out there and, at times, I was playing like a robot."

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talked last week about wanting to have Smith "turn it loose" more freely. Smith needed a boost in a big way, especially with no touchdowns, six interceptions and being benched during the Jets' three-game skid.

"I was dropping back, five-hitch and throwing it," Smith said. "I know that's the way it's drawn up in the game plan and the way it's supposed to be run, but everything is not ideal on the field. Sometimes you've got to improvise, so I think that's what Marty was speaking of."

Smith and the Jets' offense got positive results in a 37-27 win over the Oakland Raiders. He worked out of the shotgun more than usual, allowing him to roll out easier when the passing lanes were clogged. He threw for 219 yards and added 50 yards on five carries — including a 32-yard scramble.

"Throughout the game, I was just playing freely," Smith said. "It goes back to not thinking about all my past mistakes. I think I kind of got into this zone where I just tried to be way too perfect and that's almost impossible to do at any level, especially as a rookie. There were times where I was so caught up in running the play and executing it to perfection that I didn't allow my natural ability to take over at times."

The problem was that the miscues were piling up at an alarming rate, and there were few positives to take from his performances. After all, he went into the game last Sunday with just one touchdown pass and 11 interceptions in his last seven games.

Against the Raiders, Smith threw his 20th interception, but had his best game in weeks by throwing for a touchdown and running for another as the Jets (6-7) set a season high for points. Coach Rex Ryan took the blame for being too conservative with Smith in the passing game during the three-game losing streak. It was a stretch in which Smith completed a total of 21 passes.

"Maybe when you look back on it, maybe I did a poor job of that of just stressing it," Ryan said. "And maybe that took away from us a little bit. So, I'm obviously the guy responsible for that."



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