Geno Smith has to give Jaxon Smith-Njigba a pep talk
So about drafting players that can help increase the efficiency on third downs for the Seahawks, Seattle chose receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba partly for that reason. The slot receiver with great hands, good quickness, and fantastic production - when healthy - in college at Ohio State hasn't yet translated all those positives into production. Smith-Njigba has 9 catches on 14 targets this year but is only averaging 6.3 yards a catch.
In the first half of Week 3 and on 3rd and 16 inside Seattle territory, Geno Smith dropped back to pass, threw a ball targeted for Smith-Njigba but the ball was intercepted. The pass wasn't a good one and the pick was Smith's fault, but Smith-Njigba didn't make as much of an effort as maybe he could have to make sure the defender couldn't catch the ball either. We saw the same kind of thing happen against the Panthers when Smith threw the ball in the end zone in an attempt to get the ball to Tyler Lockett but Lockett was able to break up the pass.
Maybe Smith-Njigba's position coach spoke with him about working harder to try to break up the pass as Smith-Njigba did seem to be sulking on the bench on the sidelines before the second half. This led Geno Smith to go to the rookie and tell him that the team would need Smith-Njigba in the second half and moving forward. Geno Smith did what good leaders do: He admitted fault while also putting a positive spin on the situation.
Maybe Smith-Njigba just isn't used to not getting tons of targets and is simply still learning how to be an NFL receiver. He will be productive eventually as he has too much talent. But right now maybe Geno Smith just can't fully trust Smith-Njigba to be where he needs to be mentally.