77° Good Morning
77° Good Morning

Willie Colon: Geno Smith must make high-powered Jets crash proof

Jets guard Willie Colon reacts after losing his

Jets guard Willie Colon reacts after losing his helmet against the Indianapolis Colts during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

The Jets pulled out all the stops this offseason, upgrading their depleted secondary, adding playmakers to their receiving corps, and delivering depth to their offensive and defensive lines.

But all those roster moves won't translate into wins if quarterback Geno Smith doesn't handle his business.

"We bought the Porsche, we've given him the keys, he can't crash it," veteran guard Willie Colon said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Known for his tell-it-like-it-is style, Colon didn't mince words when it came to assessing Smith's performance as the Jets' offensive leader.

"Geno's career right now is extremely turbulent," he said of the third-year quarterback, who became the starter as a rookie in 2013 when Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 3 of the preseason against the Giants.

"He was never ready to be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets. When Mark went down, he was thrown into the fire and he was forced to cook."

Smith is 11-18 as a starter with 25 touchdowns, 34 interceptions and a .575 completion percentage. He also has the second-lowest QBR (35.7) since 2010 among quarterbacks with a minimum of 30 games. Only former Jet Tim Tebow (33.4) is worse.

Nevertheless, Smith is the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart.

"Everybody knows in this league, to be a quarterback, which is the No. 1 position on the field, it's a maturation period you have to go through," said Colon, a Bronx native and Hofstra alum. "And it takes the mental, the physical and everything that goes along with it to be the best, or even be in the top 10, if you will.

"Now Geno, with that said, has made his mistakes. He said some things where you look at him like, 'What are you talking about?' But I think that's all about his maturation period . . . We bought the Porsche, we've given him the keys, he can't crash it.

"Bottom line, he can't crash it. We need him to be on top of his game. We're doing everything we can as an offensive line to make him comfortable back there."

Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets' No. 2 quarterback, though he's still not 100-percent healthy after breaking his leg in mid-December. He participated in team drills for the first time last Wednesday and lacked velocity on his throws.

The Jets have four quarterbacks -- Smith, Fitzpatrick, fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and free agent Jake Heaps -- on their roster following the release of third-stringer Matt Simms last week.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports