Mike Mayock’s thoughts on Geno Smith now Dan Leberfeld

Thursday’s Jets-Pats game is on NFL Network.

The broadcast team for the game includes Brad Nessler on play-by-play, and Mike Mayock handling color commentary.

Mayock was somewhat critical of Geno Smith leading up the draft.

What did Mayock think of Smith’s first real NFL game?

“Draft time I had Geno [Smith] one and EJ Manuel two, and I thought they were the two quarterbacks out of the whole draft class that could make a difference,” Mayock said today.

“Now, my concern with Geno, especially after I watched the tape with the week three preseason game; he threw three interceptions and took a safety, and I thought all of them were particularly bad.

“If I have him rated as my No. 1 quarterback, I buy into all his upside and physical tools.  He has those.  I was concerned about him being ready.  I thought he was too raw and not ready to play against a live NFL defense in a regular‑season game.

“After watching yesterday, and I got a ton of notes in front of me, because the first thing I did this morning was put the Jets offense in against, by the way, a good defense.  And it’s not like they scored 35 points but here are the two takeaways I had.

“I thought Marty Mornhinweg did a phenomenal job protecting his quarterback.  If you look at the first play of the game, they protected 6; the two receivers chipped before they went out and the one receiver, [Jeremy] Kerley, who caught a 26‑yard pass on a deep over‑route, he chipped first, went out, great protection and Geno put it on him.

“And I thought, okay, first snap of the game, there’s Marty Mornhinweg protecting his quarterback.  Even though it was an empty set and they threw it down the field, Marty protected him.  They also ran the ball 29 times.  They didn’t run it well, but they committed to running the football.  They also moved the pocket, both bootlegs and sprint‑outs.  They did everything you can do classically to protect the young quarterback.

“I thought as the game went on, Geno got more and more comfortable and I really liked him in the second half with his decision making, and the biggest issue ‑‑ I have two issues with him and I saw it in college and I still see it but it’s part of being a young quarterback.

“One is pocket awareness, and along with pocket awareness goes ball security; he had a bad strip sack fumble and he had a bad interception, so ball security is a concern.  And I also think he holds on to the ball a little bit too long in the pocket waiting for receivers to many could open, as opposed to anticipating.

“Again, that’s common for a young quarterback, so I’m cautiously optimistic after watching that first game.  I thought Marty did everything he could to support the kid.

“Regarding New England, yeah, what a challenge.  I mean, Tampa Bay is a really good defensive team, so I thought he passed the challenge against a good defensive team.  New England will continue to show him a variety of looks, and I think Marty has got to continue to protect the kid.  And whether or not, if you take Geno’s rush scrambling yards out of their rush game, it’s an anemic rush attack, but I don’t care, because they still committed to the run game.

“So they have got to commit to the run game, and they have got to continue to move the pocket, and I think more than anything, Geno has to understand if the pass isn’t there, or if he’s confused, he has got to use his legs.  And he scrambled five times effectively, and he’s got to be willing to pull the ball down and scramble.  I’d much rather see that kid go scramble for six yards or eight yards or even two yards than sit in the pocket and try to figure out what Bill Belichick is doing to him.

“So when in doubt, pull it down and get out, and that’s what I liked about Geno yesterday.”