FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Cincinnati Bengals CB Adam "Pacman" Jones played at West Virginia four years before Geno Smith arrived, but he monitored Smith's career from afar. On Sunday, Jones will face him for the first time, armed with some intel he acquired from watching his alma mater over the years.
Jones, in an interview with Bengals.com, noted a frequent criticism of Smith.
"He loves to hold the ball a little bit, so hopefully we can get him to pat the ball and let the guys up front get to him," Jones told the team's official website. "I know him a little more because he went to West Virginia. I probably couldn’t tell you about any of the other quarterbacks if we’re not facing them, but I did watch him a little more because he went to West Virginia. I got a chance to meet him a couple of times. He’s a good solid kid. Hopefully we can make it rowdy for him this Sunday, have the guys get to him a couple of times. I know he doesn’t like the pressure."
Jones is right; Smith does tend to hold the ball too long, which explains why he's been sacked so many times (25).
The Bengals haven't fared as well as you might expect against rookie quarterbacks. Under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, they're 7-8 since 2008. In those games, the rookies compiled 16 touchdown passes and only six interceptions.
Zimmer said he's impressed with Smith.
"He’s got a cannon," he told Bengals.com. "I showed the players (Wednesday) morning a ball he threw from one hash about 40 yards down the field on a rope to the far sideline. Obviously, he’s a young guy that’s maturing, but I do feel like he’s gotten much better in the last few weeks. ... He’s got some running ability. He’s starting to scramble more than he was earlier in the year. He’s got good speed, but he’s a strong runner, so all of these things become issues."