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Geno Smith on winning New York Jets starting job: ‘I feel like I have a great shot’

Geno-Smith-JetsThe quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith is the most interesting storyline to follow from New York Jets training camp this summer. Most reporters have used words like “uninspiring” to describe Smith’s performance during practice since the Jets drafted him, and multiple reports have indicated Sanchez should be the starter come Week 1.

Smith has yet to give up hope.

“I feel like I have a great shot,” Smith told The Charleston Gazette over the weekend. “I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it by the end of OTAs and mandatory [mini-] camp [in May and June].”

With the way Sanchez has played over the past two seasons, one would think Smith would have to do very little to beat him out. However, Rex Ryan has shown unconditional support for Sanchez over the years. Couple that with rumors about the Jets considering using Smith as a change-of-pace quarterback and it would be tough to imagine Sanchez not being under center for the first game of the season.

“Going into training camp I’ve got a great opportunity and feel very good about it,” Smith said. “I’m going to go in there with the right mentality, the same mentality I had throughout my entire career, which is to work hard, to better myself and help my teammates get better and we’ll see what happens at the end of preseason.”

What else can he say? There’s a reason Geno decided not to participate in Sanchez’s annual team camp in California. He expects to be the future quarterback of the Jets, and he wants that to start in 2013. There’s a good chance he will get a chance to prove himself, but it probably won’t come in Week 1. If Sanchez continues to stink, Geno’s shot will come sooner rather than later.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Geno Smith on missing Jets West camp: Me and Mark Sanchez are cool

Geno-Smith-JetsGeno Smith raised a few eyebrows last week when he was a no-show for Mark Sanchez’s “Jets West” camp. Sanchez’s camp has become an annual tradition with the New York Jets and a time where the team can work on bonding, conditioning and other forms of practice.

As LB mentioned before, Smith probably chose not to attend because he is trying to beat Sanchez out for the starting quarterback position. Whatever the reason, the rookie said his decision to skip has not created any problems between him and Sanchez.

“Me and Mark are cool. No hard feelings or anything,” Smith said in an interview with OCNN, via the NY Daily News. “He’s up there getting work with the guys, I’m down here getting work.”

Sanchez basically said the same last week, but that hasn’t stopped the media from jumping to conclusions.

“I think it’s just something to talk about,” Smith said. “Right now it’s a dead period, so any type of hype, anything that they can get their hands on, some type of controversy. The media, they’re just doing their job. They got to create a hot story, they gotta keep the fans interested.”

That’s a pretty fair assessment. Jets stories tend to be a go-to for media outlets (us included) during the NFL offseason, mainly because they have a lot of stupid ideas and say a lot of stupid things. If Smith plans to have a successful career in New York, he might as well get used to it now.

H/T Twitter/Mansh Mehta

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.