We've seen this before, of course. For every Drew Brees, there is a Cleo Lemon or Trent Edwards that teams need to force themselves to believe in every Spring.
"He was never ready to be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets," Colon told Sirius on Tuesday. "When Mark Sanchez went down, he was thrown into the fire and he was forced to cook. 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. And it takes the mental, the physical, and everything to go along with it, to be the best, or even be in the top 10.
"Now, Geno, with that said, has made his mistakes. He's said some things where you look at him like, 'What are you talking about?' But I think that's all about his maturation period. And I think right now, like (Cromartie) just mentioned, we bought the Porsche. We've given him the keys. He can't crash it. Bottom line. He can't crash it."
Most of what Colon said is actually quite reasonable. I've written time and time again that quarterbacks are rarely given the proper time to develop and Smith was thrown into an absolute thunderstorm of nonsense.
He's also right in saying that this needs to be the year that Smith makes the leap.
With Smith, though, the magnifying lens is even more intense because of the high stakes. The team's core offensive line, another massive strength, is aging. Their prize cornerbacks will both be over 30 by opening day and, depending on how long they flirt with Muhammad Wilkerson, he might be gone once the clock strikes free agency.