It's pretty much impossible to compare quarterbacks from era to era, so we won't attempt to conclude, especially based on the statistics, that Geno Smith is the worst rookie quarterbacks in NFL history. But we think the numbers are ugly enough for us to conclude that the second-round pick shouldn't be starting at this point. I mean, what's happening with him can't possibly be good for the young man's chances of experiencing long-term success.
Smith is, at the moment, the lowest-rated qualifying passer in the NFL by a margin of nearly nine entire points. The only two quarterbacks he's within 13 points of — Brandon Weeden and Terrelle Pryor — have been benched. He's got a league-high 19 interceptions and is one of only three qualifying quarterbacks with a sub-55 completion percentage.
We mentioned that comparing players from different eras is tricky, so let's keep stay in the 21st century and go back only as far as the 2000 season. Since that point, only two quarterbacks have posted lower passer ratings than the one Smith currently has while starting a minimum of 12 games. Kyle Orton had a 59.7 rating in Chicago in 2005 and Joey Harrington was at 59.9 in Detroit in 2002. Both were rookies.
But Smith's current pace might drop him below both of those guys, because his season has gone from bad to terrible in recent weeks and the Jets won't yank him from the starting lineup.
Here are Smith's numbers in his seven starts since Week 6:
Yeah, he obviously ranks last in the league in all of those categories.
And here are his numbers in his three starts since Week 11:
How is it possible to survive such stretches? I mean, Nick Foles could now throw interceptions on his next 50 passes but would still have a higher rating than Smith.
If Nick Foles threw interceptions on his next 50 passes, he'd still have a higher passer rating than Geno Smith.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) December 1, 2013
As we speak, Smith is putting together one of the worst seasons a quarterback has ever had, and it might only get worse. The Jets should display the same kind of mercy the Chargers had for the infamous Ryan Leaf in 1998: