The growing pains will continue for quite some time, Marty Mornhinweg said.
But the Jets offensive coordinator believes Geno Smith will continue to take strides.
“Look, we’re going to go through some ups and downs here, so we understand that and he understands that,” Mornhinweg said Thursday. “He understands how important it is to take care of the ball and he understands the consequences of that. He’s working diligently to minimize those types of plays, and with the exception of that, I think he’s quite far along.
“I don’t want to speak to soon because we have a lot of learning to do and a long way to go here, but I will tell you I’ve been impressed with him on a daily basis.”
And the Jets should be. Three games is too small of a sample size to automatically tab Smith as the face of their franchise. But it took the rookie just three games to throw for over 300 yards – something incumbent Mark Sanchez didn’t do until his second season with the Jets.
Not to mention, Smith is currently tied with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the most completions on passes thrown 21 yards or more (9).
“I’m impressed a little bit more every day,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s an impressive young man, certainly talented. He’s got a lot of things to learn. Some of these things he’s seeing again for the first time. He’s got a lot of work to do for several years here.”
The Jets OC acknowledged the Patriots and Bills clogged up the middle to account for Kellen Winslow, but Mornhinweg also took the blame for not getting the tight end more opportunities.
“I wanted to get Kellen going a little bit more and that’s one thing I didn’t get accomplished,” he said. “That’s my responsibility. But clearly, our opponents up to date have known exactly where Kellen is, so that could be a good thing, in one aspect. Kellen has helped us an awful lot with his presence on the field. There’s no question about that.”
Asked how a veteran receiver like Santonio Holmes can help Smith’s development in the NFL, Mornhinweg smiled and said: “He can make touchdowns. That’s a good thing. ..Just his work ethic alone, he’s in this building, and I’m not exaggerating much, 16 or 18 hours a day with his preparation, (working) on the field, in the meetings and with his treatment as well. He is a diligent, diligent guy. Football’s important to him, and he’s a real pro. So that alone goes a long way with any rookie, certainly at quarterback.”