COMMENTARY | After Geno Smith was drafted by the New York Jets, he became the guy the fans wanted to start. Not only the fans, either. Jets GM John Idzik drafted Smith and wanted to see him win the job over incumbent Mark Sanchez.
Let's be real, Geno wasn't clamored for as the starter from the moment he was drafted because Jets fans thought he was the next Broadway Joe. Sure, the kid came with excellent credentials from the Mountaineers. Smith threw 98 touchdowns including 42 in his senior season, West Virginia's first year in the Big XII.
That never meant he was going to come to the NFL and set the world on fire. He has the same team around him Sanchez did for the most part. In reality people wanted Geno because he wasn't Mark.
Fans said they wanted Smith off the bat so that the Jets could see what they had in him. The organization needs to find out if they are going to be in the running for a quarterback in next year's draft.
With that, any want for Smith was overshadowed by the idea of Sanchez being out. Now, they definitely do have to see what they have, but that wasn't what fans were thinking at first glance. Hell, the Jets could've had a healthy David Garrard and some people would've been okay with that sadly. The Jet fan could no longer stomach awful interceptions, untimely fumbles and the obvious regression following 2010. While I think Sanchez was given too much of the blame, there were many self-inflicted wounds and fans were right to be sick of it.
Whether anyone wants to admit it now is another story but Sanchez won the competition this preseason. Eventually, he got hurt and made the decision easy.
Now, we have seen signs that Smith can be capable at this level and actually has some fans excited. But there is a better joke than what people thought the Jets would be: rumblings of Geno Smith losing his starting job.
A recent piece mentions NFL insider Adam Schefter's tweet about strong support for Matt Simms within the organization. No disrespect to Schefter, who is doing his job. I believe somebody told him something, as Geno himself does. And whoever did, what are you thinking?
In addition to that, contingents of fans are lobbying for him. There have been phone calls into radio shows supporting Simms, saying he should get a crack to start at quarterback.
It's one story amidst an entire season, I know. It doesn't seem like a big deal to some and they think maybe it's nothing.
Except in this town, everything is something. Rex Ryan couldn't see his son play a college game without getting called out. Houston coach Gary Kubiak did the same thing that day. Who knew?
This thing needs squashing before it gains more steam. The mention of putting in Simms over Geno is absurd. The entangled web that was the QB controversy untangles itself and now the thought of reengaging that? Not even for Sanchez ... but Simms? No offense to him; he excelled against backup competition, but he should be nowhere near the starting job for New York barring injury to Smith. The Jets haven't been the punch line of late; benching Smith makes them just that once again.
Those on the inside who want to sit down Geno should be addressed by owner Woody Johnson and Idzik. And if for whatever weird and Jets-like reason it's Woody himself -- just sell the team and stick to baby powder.
So we started a rookie, he throws a couple picks in the rain and we expected something like this not to happen? They must've forgotten the Jets won a game but I guess 1-1 after two career starts is a recipe for change.
The thing that makes this awful to even consider is the fact that the guy has shown leadership, confidence and some flash so far. He needs to take better care of the football but I can't get too down on a guy who struggles in his second NFL game while in the rain. Who's never played on primetime at this level; facing rival and first-ballot hall of famer Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in their building. In this case, it was all that at once.
The Jets could have won. I'll even say should have won and Jet nation's frustrations are understandable. One touchdown with three interceptions is not good and neither is 53.4 % of passes completed. Straight up, the rookie blew the game. The view on Sanchez's mistakes was they were so egregious because it was his fourth year in the league, not his first. Well, it is Smith's first. Just like that, patience and leeway decaying when it needs to be there.
Geno is the guy and needs to be. How he handles himself in the media and on the sidelines is the kind of promise gang green imagined when they drafted him. The strongest case for Smith was getting him the experience necessary to make a judgment on his NFL capabilities. So far there have been some bumps, but two games is not even close to a legitimate sample. He needs to play every single week at this point. Lucky or not, bad Bucs team or not, Geno helped the Jets win in Week 1, where he performed efficiently. How many people thought the Jets would even have a win by now? Give this guy a break and let him develop.
Geno Smith under center gives the Jets the best chance to win football games. And in some respect that matters. The 'what have you done for me lately' attitude needs to be replaced with patience as Jet fans remember there are no delusions of the Super Bowl. The most important thing is to see Smith progress along with the team's. Let's hope this isn't become another example of Jets personnel mismanagement.
Brian Sausa is a Queens native who has covered various NY area teams for New York Sports World. Intern in UAlbany Sports Information Department. Twitter @BrianSausa
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