Geno Smith apologized to New York Jets defense

Geno Smith JetsThrough the first four games of the season, the New York Jets rank in the top-eight in the NFL in both passing and rushing defense. Despite that, the team is 2-2. New York gave up 38 points in a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, but it was not because of poor defensive play. Four turnovers took a victory out of the question.

Geno Smith has already thrown eight interceptions on the year. In doing so, he has put New York’s defense in a position to fail on multiple occasions. After the loss to the Titans, Smith says he apologized to his defense.

“I felt I owed the defense an apology,” Smith said, via Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com. “They worked their butts off to be one of the best in the league and they pride themselves on not giving up points but whenever you turn the ball over and they lead to scores — And they bailed us out time and time again so far – but whenever you turn it over that many times it’s hard or those guys to go out there and do their jobs when it’s a short field. Just wanted to talk to those guys and let them know I was aware of my mistakes and I wanted to clean them up and I will clean them up.”

The rookie added that he felt owning up to his mistakes would help him earn respect among his teammates. He also acknowledged that he does not feel his job is safe given the way he has performed.

“I mean in this league, if you don’t get it done, there’s a guy — they’ll find a guy,” Smith said. “I’m not particularly worried about what anyone else is doing other than being myself and taking care of my job. I know if I take care of the ball, if I put us in good situations, we’ll have a good chance. That’s all I really focus on.”

As of now, Smith’s only threat for playing time is Brady Quinn. Is that a threat? Probably not. The Jets drafted Smith early back in April for a reason. It would look pretty bad to bail on him this early in the season, but he has to stop turning the ball over — particularly in such embarrassing fashion like this fumble. Apologies can only get you so far.

Geno Smith presents the behind-the-back fumble (GIF)

Geno Smith hasn’t taken long to prove that he fits in perfectly with the New York Jets’ team concept.

Geno Smith fumbleThe Jets were down 24-6 in the fourth quarter to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and had the ball at their 16 when Smith gave his opponent a touchdown. Smith was being pressured by Karl Klug and tried to move the ball away from his opponent by switching the ball from his right hand to his left by going behind his back. The move didn’t work out as he hoped, and Klug recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to make it 31-6.

Goodness, the Jets couldn’t have drafted a quarterback more perfect for their system than Smith. You think he learned that move from Mark Sanchez?

GIF via Kissing Suzy Kolber

Mark Sanchez insists he beat out Geno Smith for starting quarterback job

Mark SanchezMark Sanchez believes the one and only reason he is not the starting quarterback of the New York Jets right now is that he injured his shoulder. Prior to the controversial injury, which Sanchez suffered when Ryan put him on the field in the fourth quarter of the final preseason game, it was still unclear if Sanchez or Geno Smith would be the team’s starter come Week 1.

The belief is that New York’s front office has been itching to turn the reins over to Smith, but the decision became complicated when the rookie threw three interceptions in the fourth preseason game. Apparently that poor performance was enough to make Sanchez feel he had the job locked down.

That’s debatable, to say the least. During his his hilarious press conference after Sanchez suffered the shoulder injury, Rex Ryan said he would not have put Sanchez in the game if it was not “important.” If Sanchez is so confident he had already won the starting job, why was the fourth quarter of the final preseason game important?

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Geno Smith throws three interceptions in preseason game

Geno Smith JetsThe New York Jets wanted rookie Geno Smith to win the starting quarterback, but the West Virginia product has done his best to squander that opportunity.

Smith threw three interceptions in one half of the team’s third preseason game, which is often viewed as the most important preseason contest. He got the opportunity to start and played poorly. Here’s how his drives went:

    - 3 and out
    – Touchdown
    – 3 and out
    – Interception on first play of drive
    – Interception on 5th play of drive
    – Punt (gained one first down)
    – Interception on fourth play of drive

Smith forced throws into traffic, and he didn’t recognize when to throw the ball away when under pressure (a situation that led to his second interception). His first-half stats were 10-of-23 for 123 yards, one touchdown, and the three picks. The lord must have shined down brightly on Mark Sanchez, who will keep the starting job by default.

Ready for a stat that will blow you away? Smith’s three interceptions in one half are as many as he had through his first nine games with West Virginia last season (he finished with six total).

Geno Smith lights it up with first team at New York Jets practice

Geno Smith JetsNew York Jets quarterback Geno Smith may be on his way to winning the starting job over Mark Sanchez. On Wednesday, Smith worked with the Jets’ first-team offense for the third straight day. As Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News pointed out, the Jets had previously been sticking to a two-day rotation with Smith and Sanchez.

Smith was up to the challenge. At one point during practice on Wednesday, he was 10-for-10 and various Jets beat writers were commenting on how sharp he looked. Mehta later pointed out that Smith was 15-for-16, had thrown for two touchdowns and no interceptions, and was “having his way” with New York’s defense in the hurry-up offense.

Earlier this month, a report indicated that Smith is likely to earn the starting quarterback job as long as he looks sharp in preseason play. He then suffered an ankle injury which many speculated could slow his progress, but that doesn’t sound like it has been the case. Sanchez has already thrown a pick six during one preseason game and an end-zone interception in the other, so he certainly isn’t turning heads.

Rex Ryan has shown unconditional support for Sanchez over the past few years. He even has a tattoo of his wife wearing what appears to be a Sanchez jersey. But the Jets need more consistency on offense this season, and Sanchez has proven over the past two years that he is not capable of providing it. If nothing else, Smith should be able to energize New York’s offense.

Ryan is taking a bigger role in the team’s defense this year, and he said on Tuesday that he expects the unit to be among the five best in the NFL in 2013. That will be no easy task without players like Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott, but Rex has the creativity to pull it off. The question now is whether he will continue to allow Sanchez to put his defense in a position to fail.

Rex Ryan defends Geno Smith: ‘I’m glad my kid didn’t go to West Virginia’

Geno SmithNew York Jets head coach Rex Ryan came to the defense of rookie quarterback Geno Smith on Monday, and he took a shot at West Virginia in the process. A number of players who were teammates with Smith at West Virginia last season were quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as saying the team lacked leadership. Smith was not mentioned by name, but he was the Mountaineers’ quarterback.

“Last year we didn’t have, you know, a lot of leadership,” junior running back Dustin Garrison said.

Several other players said they felt the Mountaineers were not a team last season, but more about individuals. When asked if the report makes him question Smith’s leadership ability, Ryan immediately defended the rookie.

“No, but it tells me I’m glad my kid never went there. Tell you that much,” Rex said, via Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News. “I don’t get that. Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia. Sometimes, I don’t know, you have to ask them. I certainly don’t get that. When somebody leaves your deal, I guess that’s up to them, you’d have to ask them.”

West Virginia looked like one of the best teams in the country last year after the first six weeks of the season, but they quickly fell apart and capped things off with an embarrassing loss to Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Smith fell off a bit, but for the most part defense was the issue. There was very little Geno could have done about a 55-34 loss to Oklahoma State or a 50-49 loss to Oklahoma.

We don’t know if Smith lacked leadership skills, but we do know it’s easy for a team to blame a player who has moved on even if their struggles weren’t his fault. My guess is that’s what is going on at West Virginia.

Geno Smith likely to win Jets starting quarterback job

Geno Smith JetsThe New York Jets did not select Geno Smith in the early part of the second round of the NFL draft with the intention of having him sit on their bench all season. The expectation was that the former West Virginia quarterback would take some time to learn the offense before being ready to start.

Entering camp, many believed Mark Sanchez would open the season as the team’s starter and hold the position for about a month before Smith took over. It looks like Smith is going to take the job a lot sooner than that.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported over the weekend that Smith looked sharp in a scrimmage. Mehta also says Smith will be the starter for the team’s opener so long as he looks sharp in the preseason.

Brian Costello of the New York Post agrees. Costello says Smith is “stealing the spotlight” in camp and “making very few mistakes.” Costello says that if Smith plays well in the first two preseason games, the starting job is likely his.

Through seven practices and a scrimmage, Smith reportedly has completed 39-of-68 passes (57.4 percent) and thrown for three touchdowns and no interceptions. He has taken 12 sacks. Sanchez is 46-of-82 (56.1 percent) with three touchdowns, four interceptions, and eight sacks taken.

As we’ve said for a while, it won’t take much for Smith to beat out Sanchez for the job. The Jets already know what they’re getting with Sanchez. They need to know what Smith can do.