Brad Smith's versatility a plus for Jets

Posted Oct. 03, 2010 @ 1:44 a.m.
Posted By Eli Kaberon

No player on the Jets has more jobs than Brad Smith. Listed as a wide receiver, the versatile Smith catches passes, returns kicks, is on both punt- and kickoff-coverage teams and regularly takes snaps as the team's "Wildcat" quarterback.

A signalcaller at the University of Missouri, Smith left college as the first Division I-A player to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 in a career. He now hauls in throws from Mark Sanchez, but as a former QB, the 26-year-old Smith can see Sanchez's development at the position.

"I think he's done a great job, just his understanding and managing the game, his leadership skills, he has just grown so much these past few weeks," Smith told PFW. "He's going to keep going up, so I'm excited for our team with the way he's been playing and the potential he has."

Smith has a limited role in the Jets' passing game, but that is mainly because he is needed in so many other areas. Opposing defenses always must be aware of where Smith is when he's on the field, because there is always a chance he could be catching, throwing or running with the ball, or just on the field as a decoy. He takes snaps out of the "Wildcat," takes handoffs on end-arounds and runs downfield pass routes.

Because of his multiple roles, Smith's preparation between games is greater than most. Instead of just doing receiver drills and sitting in meetings with his fellow wideouts, he is needed all over the Jets' facility.

"I really take a lot of notes, do a lot of film work. The coaches do a great job of breaking stuff down in the game plans every week, they make it real easy to understand," Smith said of his preparation. "Coach (Mike) Westhoff on special teams, the certain positions I may play at, I get a real good understanding of those within the offense so I know during the week what to prepare for."

Growing up as a quarterback, Smith said the transition to multi-dimensional player hasn't been too difficult, especially because of the skills he learned when he was a QB.

"Being able to understand where guys should be, helping grasp the bigger picture of the offense as a whole, and what it takes to work, it all helps," Smith said.