Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Patriots ‘going to take time to adjust’ this season
|09.10.13 at 11:08 am ET|
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the Patriots and Jets and their upcoming game on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, as well as Tim Tebow‘s future in the NFL.
Smith said that he wouldn’t be surprised if it was a close game Thursday, especially due to the Patriots missing a number of experienced players on offense.
“Yeah. You guys had [Shane] Vereen and he goes out. [Stevan] Ridley had trouble handling the football. I don’t expect that to be something that continues, but at the same time, I look at the Patriots right now and you had so many things go on: [Aaron] Hernandez, you had obvious problems there, you have [Rob] Gronkowski, he’s injured, just guys being gone like [Brandon] Lloyd and [Danny] Woodhead. I think it’s going to take time to adjust,” Smith said. “It’s going to take time. … I anticipate the potential for a low-scoring game. So could I see a 17-14 game? Yes. Could I see a 20-13 game? Yes, I could see something like that.”
Smith said that Jets fans’ expectations would reach absurd levels if the team was able to beat the Patriots and go to 2-0 on the season.
“[Jets fans] were happy [after Sunday’s win], and they were completely oblivious and dismissive of how lucky they are that [Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte] David pushed Geno Smith out of bounds, because there would have been no field goal,” Smith said. “It would have been over. It would have been throwing a Hail Mary pass from beyond the 50-yard line. … Their attitude was, ‘We won the game.’ … And that unfortunately has been the Jets’ Achilles’ heel as far as I’m concerned. You’ve got to really decipher how these things come about, because the Jets should not have won that game on Sunday. I don’t think that they’ll be as lucky this Thursday against New England, but anything is possible.
“I can tell you right now, if Geno Smith and the New York Jets walk into Foxboro and they beat New England on Thursday, these [fans] will be talking as if the Jets are destined for another trip to the AFC championship game.”
As for Tebow, Smith isn’t surprised he hasn’t found a new team since being released by the Patriots.
“If you can watch Tim Tebow and still believe that because of the ‘it’ factor and what you saw in Denver that this dude can be just as effective in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady, I think that there’s something wrong with you,” Smith said. “I think the part that gets ignored is that the kid is such a great kid that everybody is quick to say that and preface their statements by saying that and really are hesitant to point out the selfishness and the hardheadedness.
“The kid cannot throw the football. It is that simple. He has no business being an NFL quarterback. Does he accept that? No. Is he willing to play on an NFL team and just do whatever it is that he’s asked to do just to win in an NFL uniform and use that ‘it’ factor and intangibles to make a difference? No.”
On whether high-speed NFL offenses such as Chip Kelly’s Eagles are just another short-term fad: “I think that the safe answer is both [yes and no]. … There will be times where they periodically do it throughout a game where it could potentially be used, but not often. It can’t be your biggest strategy. I think that when you look at Chip Kelly, for example, you saw last night that you obviously need to run the football effectively, because it’s designed to facilitate the running attack, but you’ve got to protect Michael Vick, and you can’t afford an injury to DeSean Jackson. … You’ve got Vick, but Nick Foles is your backup, and after that it’s Matt Barkley out of USC. The way that offense is run, there’s only one quarterback that [Kelly] has that can run it, and that’s Michael Vick.”
On which new-breed quarterback — Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick — Smith would draft if he were the general manager of an NFL team: “Kaepernick would be the answer for me. The popular answer is RG3 … but Colin Kaepernick is special, and I think ‘special’ because I put that on top of ‘great.’ The dude is just on another level. He’s got the height, he’s got the size, he’s got the wheels, he’s got the arm, he’s got the athleticism and more importantly, he’s got the heart. … He’s starving to prove that he is on an elite level.”