Clearly, Stedman Bailey has not been 100 percent since leaving in the middle of the Texas Tech game with an ankle injury.
He’s played since then, but was limited to just two receptions last week – one for a 25-yard TD in overtime – and a 5-yard catch.
Ivan McCartney started the TCU game over Bailey and had just one reception for 10 yards.
Geno Smith admitted this week that not having his longtime receiver at 100 percent hurts. The Smith-Bailey connection and Smith-Tavon Austin connection was a key reason this offense was so special earlier this year.
Bailey still leads the team with 15 touchdowns.
Smith on Bailey:“I think he’s doing fine. I think he’s doing better. I’m not quite sure what his injury is. It did hamper him for a bit but he’s getting better. It’s definitely a factor to have him out there with us. He’s one of the leaders of the offense. He’s also a guy we look to make some plays for us. When he’s not on the field it hurts our numbers a bit. We need guys to step up. We can’t use that as an excuse. We need guys to step up…or even me to figure out a way not to let one guy or two guys, whoever it is, not let that effect our offense to the point we’re not getting the job done.”
Asked if Bailey’s absence brings the temptation to get the ball to Tavon Austin every play, Smith said that’s not up to him.
Smith on Austin:“That’s up to the coaches. I love to see the ball in his hands because he’s so special with it,” said Smith. “I try to get it into his hands as much as possible. As far as game planning and figuring out ways to get him more touches it’s basically up the circumstances whether or not the staff wants him on different areas on the field. Also due to him getting open and him doing some things on his own, he does a great job of that during the game. But there’s also other guys on the field who need to touch the ball as well. To say he needs more, I don’t know? I’m not sure if it would hurt or help us.”