In Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Gang Green’s rookie QB finished the game with 289 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and two lost fumbles. In the NFL, teams cannot afford to turn over the ball four times in a game if they expect to win. In this past week’s game, the Titans capitalized on each of Smith’s turnovers for an additional 28 points, proving costly in the loss.
Gang Green is 2-2 on the season, but their record could be even better. When a quarterback turns over the ball 11 times in the first four games of the season, the usual response is to bench him, but the rookie’s job isn’t in jeopardy, but if the trend continues, things can change at the drop of the hat.
“I mean in this league, if you don’t get it done, there’s a guy — they’ll find a guy,” noted Smith. “I’m not particularly worried about what anyone else is doing other than being myself and taking care of my job. I know if I take care of the ball, if I put us in good situations, we’ll have a good chance. That’s all I really focus on.”
Despite his poor performance thusfar, Rex Ryan chose to keep Smith in the game on Sunday. Following the decision, Smith seemed to be grateful for his coach’s faith.
“It’s great to hear that from Rex,” stated Smith. “Judging by the way I’ve played over the last few games, there has been ups and downs, that’s understandable, but I think we have a chance here to be a really good team. A lot falls on my shoulders as far as taking care of the ball but that’s something I have to do. I know that I’ve been coached hard. No one wants to make those mistakes. It’s something that has to stop now in order for us to progress and to get better as an offense and as a team.”
It is expected for rookie quarterbacks to experience some ups and downs early in their career. The transition from NCAA to the NFL can be hard for some quarterbacks. The former West Virginia star has thrown for over 1,000 yards in his first four games, ranking No. 16 in the league. However, his eight interceptions, two fumbles, and one unintentional safety seem to outweigh his highs.
“We’ve experience highs and lows,” said Cmith. “That’s something that can be a good sign, but it also can be a negative sign. So, you have to remain even-keeled. We have to continue to work hard and just stay. As long as we play consistently and everyone comes together, we’ll become a better offense. Turnovers and penalties have hurt us, (and it is) something we need to correct now in order for us to progress. It’s a good sign that we have a long ways to go. We have 12 more games (and) possibly a playoff stretch, so we have to continue to correct things, just move on from the experiences that we’ve had and just get better from them.”
If the rookie can continue to progress and make star protecting the ball with consistency, fans should expect to see more wins in the next 12 weeks. For now, Smith has a few things to work on, specifically in the ball security department. With the confidence and support from his teammates and coaches, he can overcome this horrible start to the season and prove that he is the future for this franchise.