Is Geno Smith a gymrat? Seems that way. But he’s definitely a bookworm.
The anecdotes continue to collect, like three-hole-punch pages slipping onto the rings of a playbook binder.
The one impressive predraft tale was told by ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who runs the Elite 11 passing camp pairing up top college quarterbacks with top high school QBs. The six college signalcallers last year each got a 90-page playbook three weeks before the start of the camp.
“Geno showed up, and on day one, he could’ve taught it,” Dilfer said. “He didn’t just know it. He owned it.”
Tale No. 2 is one that I observed on Thursday. Smith was literally the first rookie to come through the football entrance after noon to check in for this Jets rookie minicamp. He had some time to kill before he headed from the hallway to the locker room, so he opened up something — his playbook. And he was studying it.
Could that have been for show? I suppose so. But there weren’t any news cameras or reporters in the hallway, just a few Jets personnel. Maybe he took a few minutes to refresh his memory about a play or two because that’s who he is.
Then came these two practices Friday and today. They’re all rookies and first-year players, so be wary of the single anecdote, but Rex Ryan remembered one particular play that impressed him as a defensive coach and head coach. It was an adjustment that wasn’t in the playbook yet but Geno made a good anyway.
“One time when Geno was back there, we had a run called,” Ryan said. “With Marty [Mornhinweg], we all know how rare that is, especially when we’re in these no-pad days. But the run was called to the tight end, and the way the formation was set up the defense gave us a crazy look. The outside linebacker was lined up two removed and there was no edge [blocker] there.
“We don’t even have a checked play in. But Geno checked out of it anyway. Obviously he’s got some awareness.”
“I try not to make mental mistakes in practice,” Geno said this afternoon in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room. “I try to be sound in the huddle, to saying the cadence, to going out there with the proper footwork, the proper depth on my drops and doing my reads. I’m trying not to make mental mistakes.”
Mornhinweg, the OC, and QBs coach David Lee, Smith said, “do a great job of allowing us to improve. I’ve got a long way to go, I know that. We all do. I think that goes for every single rookie that comes into the NFL, every single quarterback — probably the toughest position in the league. So there’s a lot on my plate. It’s just about how you handle it. I’ve been doing my best to just study my playbook, stay up late, come in here early, do all the things necessary to be a good quarterback.”
Ryan has stressed twice the better second offensive line that’s lining up now. With draft picks Brian Winters, Oday Aboushi and William Campbell and free agent All-America C Dalton Freeman, Ryan said, “It’s a good-looking group, there’s no doubt. That’s impressive to me.”
The dark-horse candidate is Will Campbell, the Michigan DT who’s lining up at guard. “He’s the kid that really intrigues me,” Rex said. “Mike Devlin’s an outstanding coach, but I’m surprised Campbell’s not making mistakes. He seems like he’s been doing it his whole life.”
Ryan gave passing praise to first-round D-lineman Sheldon Richardson again, free-agent LB Troy Davis out of Central Florida. And he did not name one defender who missed his turn on a play. “The defense was so good, they decided to line up with 10 today,” the coach said. “I can never figure that out. If I’m [on the field], I’m going to know where I am on the depth chart.”
Tags: David Lee, Geno Smith, Marty Mornhinweg, Mike Devlin, Rex Ryan, rookie minicamp, Trent Dilfer, Will Campbell
Posted in Randy Lange | 176 Comments »