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Jets reportedly considering using Geno Smith as change-of-pace quarterback

Geno-Smith-JetsThe New York Jets do some pretty strange things. Keeping Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback for this length of time is one of them, but the latest news out of Jets camp is even more puzzling than that.

Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com reported on Monday morning that Rex Ryan and company are “toying with” the idea of using Geno Smith as a change-of-pace quarterback and having him run mainly read-option plays if he does not win the starting job. The team would build a package of plays for him in an attempt to utilize his speed while also giving the rookie experience and adding another element to the offense.

In other words, the Jets want to try to do with Smith what they intended to do with Tim Tebow last year. That plan failed miserably, so why would it work with Smith? The reason the idea is so bizarre is that Geno considers himself a pocket passer, and he wasn’t even a read-option quarterback at West Virginia. Ryan acknowledged that when discussing Smith’s role last month.

[Related: Geno Smith was a no-show at annual "Jets West" camp]

“They didn’t really run a whole lot of zone reads and different things (at West Virginia),” Rex said at the time, via Around the League. “But (Smith) has the skill set to where there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to do that. … Running for first downs and touchdowns, I think that’s how the league is probably going to progress with these things.”

Smith rushed for 342 yards on 245 career carries in college. He’s probably better off holding a clipboard for a year than trying to contribute as a “change-of-pace” quarterback. Or, maybe he should start. Whatever the Jets decide to do, no one will be surprised if it doesn’t work — at all.

H/T Rotoworld

Geno Smith’s invitation to Jets West camp must have been lost in the mail

Geno-Smith-JetsMark Sanchez is holding his annual “Jets West” camp and, unsurprisingly, Geno Smith is a no-show.

While several New York Jets skill position players showed up for team bonding, weight lifting, and other forms of practice led by Sanchez in Mission Viejo, Calif., the incumbent’s biggest competition at quarterback was training in Florida on his own.

Sanchez told the New York Daily News on Friday that he had no hard feelings towards Smith or anyone else who was not able to attend his camp, but the situation has reached comedic levels.

During mini-camp, Smith, who was selected by the Jets in the second round of the draft, gave a “no comment” when asked if he would attend Sanchez’s camp, which essentially confirmed he had no interest in going to the event.

“Sure, sure,” Smith said about going to Jets West at the time, per the Daily News. “We haven’t talked about it, but from my understanding it’s something that’s done annually and all the guys go out there and it’s been a great experience. Mark hasn’t officially extended the hand to me but I’m pretty sure there’s no problem there. I’m more than willing to go there.”

He didn’t sound all that enthusiastic about going, right? Sanchez, meanwhile, said that everyone was invited.

Who can really blame Smith for not going? The camp is an unofficial event organized by Sanchez, whom Smith is trying to beat out for the job. Why would he want to walk into a situation where Sanchez is trying to assert his leadership? And though it is a nice gesture from Sanchez to organize the workouts, this is a player who has turned the ball over more than anyone else in the league the past two seasons. What kind of authority could he possibly have as a team leader? I know I would have a hard time taking his efforts seriously if I were one of his teammates based on the way he’s played.

Geno Smith officially signs with Jay Z’s sports agency

Geno-Smith-JetsGeno Smith received a lot of attention last month when he reportedly fired his agents because he was not the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Whether you believe it is a coincidence or not, Jay-Z happens to have started his own sports agency just a few weeks prior to Smith ditching his agents. You probably know where this is going.

According to the Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, Smith announced on Wednesday that he has hired Jay-Z’s agency, Roc Nation Sports, to represent him going forward. He insisted that Jay-Z himself played “not that big of a role” in his decision.

“I think it’s just his agency,” Smith explained. “When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move. My mother and my family were comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with it.”

“I’m just going to move on from there. It’s not going to be a big deal and just remain humble and keep focusing on football.”

Anyone who tries to downplay the role of Jay-Z in their decision to sign with Roc Sports Nation is lying. There are very few people in the world who can drop everything they are doing to break into the business of representing athletes, and Jay-Z is one of them. If I decided to start my own sports agency, you wouldn’t see people like this MLB All-Star and this Pro Bowl wide receiver jumping on board. That’s because I’m not Jay-Z. His power and reputation have plenty to do with it.

Smith, who reportedly fell in the draft because of character concerns, said improving his image is not important.

“The only thing that’s important to be is the image that is perceived around this lockerroom, the guy that I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work that I put in on the football field,” he said. “I’m all about football. I’m all about getting better and that’s the one thing that I’m focused on: Better myself daily and prepare myself to be there when the time comes.”

One thing we know for certain: Roc Nation Sports has had little trouble rounding up star power in its month-plus of existence.

Joe Namath: Jets did not need to draft Geno Smith

Geno SmithJoe Namath is one of very few Mark Sanchez supporters left in the country that are not related to the former USC star, which is surprising considering how critical the Hall of Famer has been of the New York Jets over the past several years. For whatever reason, Namath thinks Sanchez is capable of getting it done.

Geno Smith was expected by many — especially himself — to be the first quarterback selected in the 2013 draft. For that reason, the Jets thought he presented tremendous value at No. 39 overall. Not surprisingly, Namath thinks it was a wasted pick.

“No, I don’t think they needed a quarterback,” he said Tuesday according to the NY Daily News. “They needed the other positions filled. Possibly offensive line. They got some defensive line. The safeties are still questionable. The outside linebackers are still questionable.”

Namath is not the only one who feels that way, but at the same time there are not many people in Jets nation who feel comfortable with Sanchez as their quarterback. Broadway Joe praised Smith for being a “sensational athlete,” but he made it clear he is still high on Sanchez.

“I am pulling for (Sanchez),” he said. “I know that he can do better than he’s done. And we saw him lead a team to two AFC championship games, right? I also know what it’s like not to necessarily have the weapons you’d like to have, not to necessarily have the time you’d like to accomplish.

“I know it’s a team game and I know Sanchez is going to play better. I promise you you’ll see a different guy (this year). I believe you’ll see a different guy.”

Perhaps Namath knows something we don’t. Or maybe Sanchez’s new high-profile quarterback coach has done more for him than we could ever imagine. We know one Pro Bowl receiver isn’t buying it, and neither am I.

That being said, I’m not all that high on Smith at the moment either. Regardless of who the Jets starter is at the end of training camp, their defense will likely have to be closer to the caliber it was when they reached back-to-back AFC championship games if they want to contend.

Geno Smith reportedly dropped over character, leadership concerns

Geno Smith NFL Draft

Geno Smith went from being an anticipated top-10 pick in the NFL Draft to slipping to the second round where he was selected 39th overall by the New York Jets. Smith faced heavy scrutiny prior to the draft after a Pro Football Weekly scouting report from Nolan Nawrocki skewered him for having poor work habits and focus. Now we’re seeing that he may not have been the only one disenchanted with Smith’s personality.

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole wrote a column on Smith that is well worth your time. In the article, Cole cites a few different executives who expressed concerns about the former West Virginia quarterback.

“I’m not sure he knows how to take instruction because he pretty much wouldn’t listen or talk to our coaches,” one executive told Cole.

“He doesn’t have much presence, not much of a leader,” another league executive told Cole.

Cole also reports that Smith spent a lot of time on his phone during his visits with teams rather than interacting with coaches and other team personnel, which turned off some teams.

E.J. Manuel was the first quarterback taken in the draft and only QB selected in the first round. He came off very well in media interviews and seemed to understand what it takes to be a franchise leader. That could explain in part why Buffalo selected him.

Many were outraged when they read Nawrocki’s assessment of Smith and felt that some of the criticism had racist undertones. Maybe Nawrocki’s report just happened to reflect the widespread feeling about Smith across the league. We know one thing: it reflects poorly on Smith that he didn’t want to come back to the draft after not being picked on the first day, and it looks bad that he has already fired his agents.

Geno Smith reportedly fired agents because he wasn’t top overall pick in draft

No player in the 2013 NFL Draft seemed more disappointed with their draft position than former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Many considered Smith to be the best player in the draft at his position, but several NFL teams disagreed. He slid out of the first round and was selected by the New York Jets with the 39th overall pick. As a result, he has fired his agents.

According to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, Smith believed he should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. His agents from Select Sports Group reportedly did not assure him that he would be the first player selected, but Smith has left the agency anyway. He will have to wait five days before hiring another agent.

It was hardly a secret that Smith was crushed when he did not hear his name called on Thursday. He had his family with him and was introduced with some of the other top prospects prior to the start of the draft, so he had to have been embarrassed. After the first round, he claimed he would not be coming back to Radio City Music Hall for the second round. He later changed his mind, possibly because of some words of encouragement from Aaron Rodgers.

Naturally, Twitter is now buzzing about how perfect Smith is for the Jets. The fact that he fired his agents because no team wanted him badly enough to spend a first-round pick on him shows how highly Smith thinks of himself. That should make him a nice fit in New York.

Photo Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Geno Smith reportedly changed his mind, will attend Day 2 of NFL Draft

No player was more disappointed after round one of the NFL Draft on Thursday night than former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. After a great deal of speculation that he could be the first quarterback taken, Smith sat at Radio City Music Hall and watched 32 players embark on a new life without hearing his name called.

Instead, the Buffalo Bills took EJ Manuel with the 16th overall pick, and he wound up being the only quarterback taken in the first round. At the conclusion of the evening, Smith was reportedly so upset that he declined to do an on-camera interview and said he would not be attending Day 2 in New York. He may have changed his mind.

Smith was clearly speaking out of frustration on Thursday night, and you can’t really blame him. He was looking sharp, his family was there and he was introduced with a number of other prospects before teams began making their picks. Perhaps the words of encouragement he received from Aaron Rodgers factored into his decision.

As we have seen countless times, there’s nothing wrong with slipping out of the first round. Smith will be playing with an even bigger chip on his shoulder now. His rookie contract might not have quite as many zeros attached to it, but plenty of NFL legends have been drafted in the later rounds.

Photo Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE