Michael Mankoff looks at New York Jets QB Geno Smith and his chemistry with receiver Brandon Marshall
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. ( Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
(C+P) — When Brandon Marshall became a Bear, no one doubted that a big reason for it was the opportunity to play with Jay Cutler, his former Denver teammate, and close friend. While the duo did have some success in Chicago, their close relationship (described at times as a marriage) appeared strained by Marshall’s off-field behavior and Cutler’s on-field failures. Due to this “breakup” no one was really surprised when Marshall was traded to the Jets in March.
It appears that Marshall got over Cutler quickly and fell hard for his new quarterback Geno Smith. “When I talked to him (Smith) I fell in love with the conversation,” Marshall told NFL Media Reporter Judy Battista.
Smith and Marshall are roommates at training camp, which Marshall claims strengthens their bond. At times, Marshall even refers to Smith as his “brother,” which is great until you consider Marshall said the same thing about Jay Cutler at one point.
Let’s not forget that although Smith and Marshall appear to be getting along famously, they are still in the honeymoon stage of their relationship: they aren’t experiencing the relentless criticism that the New York media has leveled against Smith or bickering over on-field mistakes. But marriages are hard, and Marshall and Smith have a lot of issues to work out.
Although there is no doubt that Smith is a smart quarterback, his on-field performance doesn’t always live up to his intelligence: Smith threw 13 interceptions in 2014 and only completed 59.7 percent of his passes. Despite this, at times Smith showed signs of brilliance: he threw for 358 yards and no interceptions in the Jets’ last game against the Dolphins in December. Still, Jets coach Todd Bowles admitted to CBSsports.com reporter Sean d’Oliveira that Geno needs to improve: “He (Smith) makes good throws, he makes some bad throws. There has to be more consistency for the quarterbacks overall.”
Even in practice, Smith remains inconsistent, throwing 3 interceptions the first day of the Jets’ minicamp but improving by Day Three, throwing 0 interceptions and a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Owusu. The on-field relationship between Smith and Marshall remains a mystery very much, as Marshall was sidelined with a toe injury Wednesday. The injury is not thought to be serious, and it is believed that Marshall’s benching was merely precautionary.
Marshall admits that while they have had their issues, they are communicating well now. And, as we all know, one of the most important aspects of marriage is effective communication. Despite this, Jets fans have to be wondering whether the bliss will last or whether Smith is just a rebound relationship for Marshall.