BY NICK ST. DENIS
The New York Jets need quarterback Geno Smith to be efficient through the air in order to be successful on a consistent basis.
His legs, however, can make all the difference. At least that was the case in 2013, Smith's rookie campaign.
In the Jets' eight losses, Smith rushed for 92 yards on 22 carries for eight first downs and no touchdowns. In their eight wins, he amassed 274 yards on 50 carries for 18 first down and six -- yes, six -- touchdowns.
That's major difference.
Five of Gang Green's victories were by seven points or less, and he found paydirt on the ground in three of those. Now, that doesn't discount the affect Smith's arm had on the team's fortunes. He threw 10 total touchdowns in the wins and just two in the losses.
For Smith, it's really a matter of putting the whole thing together, which was evident the last four games of the season, when the Jets went 3-1.
In that span, Smith tossed four touchdowns and rushed for three more, throwing just two interceptions in the process (and none in the final two games).
"I really like where he left off," Jets coach Rex Ryan recently told The Star-Ledger. "The last month of the
season was probably his best. I know he had some rocky spots, to say the
least. And so did we as a team.
"But to finish where he did, I think he
was the second-highest rated quarterback at the end of the season. Very
few turnovers. he ran the ball effectively as well. So he used his legs,
used his arms, cut down on turnovers. I think if he could play that
way, we're going to be tough to beat."
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