Geno Smith believes he can still start for Jets
As cruel as it sounds, the best thing that happened to the 2015 New York Jets was Geno Smith having his jaw broken by a teammate. Yes, we know Ryan Fitzpatrick came up small in the biggest game of the year on Sunday with three interceptions. But he also led the team to a 10-6 record and threw a franchise-best 31 touchdown passes.
Despite that, Smith still believes he has a shot to take back his job in 2016.
On Monday, Smith took exception to a reporter suggesting he would have trouble earning a starting job next season if the Jets re-sign Fitzpatrick.
“I guess if you’re saying I don’t have an opportunity here, I don’t believe that,” he said, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “We don’t know what’s going to transpire, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Had Smith not been punched in the face by former teammate I.K. Enemkpali, he was in line to be the starter. He said he believes he has become a better player by watching from the sidelines this year.
“I think I did my best to handle it the best way possible, being that I didn’t play probably for the first time since I was 8 years old,” Smith said. “I want to be out there. We all do. But I used things as my motivation, as fuel to my fire. Everything I’ve went through, everything that’s been said, I listen to it, I hear it, and I use it.”
Perhaps more disturbing than one of Smith’s teammates breaking his jaw was the reaction from other people in the locker room. To this point, it does not seem like the former West Virginia star has earned the respect of his teammates as a leader.
All signs point to Fitzpatrick returning next season. Unless something unexpected happens in training camp, Fitzpatrick would have to really, really screw up to lose his starting job to Smith.