Statistically speaking, Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s rookie season has looked a lot like the rookie season of his predecessor, Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez completed 53.8 percent of his passes as a rookie; Smith has completed 56.3 percent. Sanchez averaged 6.7 yards a pass; Smith is averaging 7.1. Sanchez threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions; Smith has thrown eight touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Sanchez fumbled 10 times and lost three of them; Smith has fumbled eight times and lost four of them. But don’t tell Smith that he plays like Sanchez.
“No, I’m not Mark,” said Smith, who according to ESPN.com was almost bristling when a reporter pointed out the similarities. “I don’t think it’s fair to compare his season to mine. It’s two different seasons, two different guys, two different players, two different styles, two different systems. I know you guys want to compare every single thing, but it doesn’t make a difference.”
What Smith and Sanchez have clearly had in common is inconsistency. That’s a common trait for rookie quarterbacks, but Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said after the Jets lost in Buffalo on Sunday that Smith’s inconsistency is the result of shying away from contact.
“First play of the game, I knew that we had him,” Dareus said. “We got a big lick on him and he kind of rolled around. We knew right there we were in his head. From then on, he looked crazy, looked scattered.”
Smith disagreed with that, but he needs to prove Dareus wrong with his play, not his words. He can say whatever he wants, but he’s not playing any better than Sanchez.