After Geno Smith threw a first-quarter pick-six against the New England Patriots last Sunday, a reasonable expectation was for the New York Jets to ease their rookie signal-caller back into a rhythm with a few handoffs.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg had other ideas.
Mornhinweg put the ball back on Smith's shoulder on the offense's very next play, and Smith completed a 17-yard pass to Stephen Hill before moving the chains on three more throws.
That drive ended in a Nick Folk field goal, Smith went on to an exceptional finish to the game, and the Jets won.
"We threw the ball a couple of more times right away on purpose, just a 'Let's go,'" Mornhinweg told ESPN New York this week of his attack-mode response to Smith's mistake. "That's just the way we operate."
Jets fans are still getting used to that kind of approach, as former offensive coordinators Tony Sparano and Brian Schottenheimer were all about damage control in those situations, which really just caused more damage.
Maybe it's the difference between Mark Sanchez and Smith. Maybe it's the difference between Gang Green's ex-coordinators and their new one. Maybe it's the combination.
Whatever it is, the Jets must do more of it.
Smith has proven to be very even keeled, or as Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called him, a "flatliner." He doesn't get rattled. If he screws up again, it's because he made a bad play, not because he was experiencing residual effects from the last one.
Here's a great exchange from his press conference transcript during the week between the Atlanta Falcons and Steelers games that sums up Smith's personality:
On how he keeps that perspective of being even-keeled…
That’s it. I’ve played football my entire life. The one thing I’ve learned is never let the game change who you are, good or bad. So I’m never going to change. I’m never going to get beside myself. I love the grind of it, I love every single day of practice, so that’s what I’m here for and that’s what I love about it.
On if he’s naturally an even-keeled person or is it something he’s learned as the season has gone by…
No, it’s just who I am. Some guys are different, but I’m always going to be the same guy win, lose or draw.
On if he’s been an even-keeled person since he was a little kid…
Yeah, it’s been that way since I was a kid, always like that, yeah.
On Tomlin describing him as a "flatliner"…
Well, yeah, I mean, that’s just how I am. My mom thought it was weird. I never really got excited on Christmas when I was a kid. That’s just how I was all the time.
On if he gets excited about anything…
Life. I’m big on life. Life. Waking up every morning excites me.
On if he can remember the last time he was nervous on the football field…
No, I can’t.
On if he was ever nervous playing football in high school or college…
No. I mean, it’s a football game.
On what makes him be a person that doesn’t get nervous…That kind of mentality obviously makes Morhinweg's job a little easier, as it allows him to take shots and be aggressive no matter what the circumstance.
I don’t know. It’s just the way I have been growing up. I don’t really get nervous, especially in football. It’s just something that I love to do. I just look at it as if I was playing in the back yard, playing sandlot. You wouldn’t get nervous then. I walk into the game, I feel prepared, so I’m never really nervous when I’m prepared.
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