Week 5 Rookie Review

By: Shasky Clarke

The Excellent

QB Geno Smith, New York Jets: 16-20 199 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 4 sacks

The confident Geno Smith continues to lead one of the league’s more underrated and effective passing offenses, fearlessly attacking the middle of the field and making the most of a relatively limited set of pass catchers. On Monday night, Smith was poised, sharp and did not force the ball. He took four sacks, holding the ball too long on some occasions. But he also used his good speed to move the chains. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has directed a diverse and organized offense and through five games, Geno Smith has passed for 8.3 yards per attempt, good for seventh among starting quarterbacks.

WR Terrance Williams, Dallas: In a game in which the Cowboys passed for over 500 yards, rookie receiver Terrance Williams led the team in receiving yards, helped by an impressive 82 yard receiving touchdown. After struggling early in the season with drops and miscues, Williams has been able to utilize his great size and straight line speed to be an excellent number two receiver recently. Over the past couple weeks, he has produced 11 catches, 221 yards and a touchdown.

DT Chris Jones, New England: A Texans sixth round pick after a dominant career at Bowling Green, Jones notched 1.5 sacks for the Patriots as part of a rotation of defensive tackles trying to replace Vince Wilfork. A poor fit in Houston’s pure 3-4, he may not be a physical stand-out at 6’2” 302 pounds, but he should be a relatively effective interior rusher going forward.

DT Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants: The 6’2” 320-pound second round pick hasn’t received a ton of snaps behind veterans Shaun Rogers, Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins and Linval Joseph. But with Joseph out in week five against the Eagles, Hankins got a few opportunities to flash his ability to be a stout beast against the run, at times dominating a relatively finesse Eagles interior.

CB Marcus Cooper, Kansas City: Only 25% of the eight targets the 6’2” 192-pound seventh rounder saw were completed. Even in a deep secondary, and though the long, fast and explosive talent out of Rutgers might not be a ball hawk or playmaker, he can be very effective in a rotation.

Backs Deserve To Start

RB’s Andre Ellington, Arizona and Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati:

Both backs are consistently outplaying their veteran starting counterparts, providing significantly more explosiveness, quickness and versatility. Ellington led the team with 52 yards on less than half of the carries Cardinals starter Rashard Mendenhall received. In the season Ellington is averaging almost seven yards per carry as Mendenhall averages 3.2.

Carrying the ball 13 times for 62 yards, including a 28 yard scamper, Bernard continues to be more effective than starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has 2.9 yards per carry to Bernard’s 4.6.

Guard Wars

RG Larry Warford, Detroit vs. RG Chance Warmack, Tennessee:

Even if not dominant, third round pick Warford has been quietly solid, upgrading the Lions right guard spot and holding up in pass protection. Meanwhile, heavy-footed first rounder Chance Warmack predictably had trouble against the athleticism of guys like Chiefs break out nose tackle Dontari Poe. The two are similarly limited athletes best suited in a phone booth. So far though, Warford has thoroughly outplayed Warmack.

The Poor

DT Joe Vellano, New England: Filled in for Vince Wilfork and struggled in his match up against Bengals center Kyle Cook, regularly getting taken out of run plays.

Safety Jonathan Cyprien, Jacksonville: Lacking great speed, Cyprien has been utterly ineffective in coverage all season.

RT Jordan Mills, Chicago: For a second straight week and in a second consecutive loss, Mills had a tough time in his match-ups. This time, it was the Saints’ Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan that gave him fits, combining for four quarterback hits.