Despite being a terrible team over the last couple of years, the New York Jets are always interesting. Maybe it’s because their own storylines they manage to create, this time the quarterbacks battle with rookie Geno Smith smack in the middle of them, but possibly it’s being in the wrong city for a franchise that needs a little bit of peace and quiet.
Day 1 in the Geno Smith era, if there is ever going to be one, went as expected. Smith had his ups and downs, throwing for the first time in a Jets training uniform, carrying the number 7 on his jersey. Did it mean anything? Nope, but according to smith, #12 is retired for him.
Aside from ability, which Smith was pleased about and Rex Ryan was too (I like the way Geno threw the ball. He looked pretty good to me. He can really spin it, but that’s no surprise to me.) which wasn’t something we heard the Jets’ head coach say about Tim Tebow this time 12 months ago, the noise Smith made during and after the draft came from scouts, talking about his diva like behavior, strengthened by him firing his agent right after sliding down to the second round.
But Smith, with more than 50 of the media in attendance to watch his Jets career unfold before them, doesn’t seem to be too phased by everything that’s going on. He tried to be humble about his performance, grading himself with an F on his first day, but that was too fake, and no one really bought it. The important thing is how he throws, and more importantly handle the pressue. He’s also quite realistic about his chances at the moment, acknowledging Mark Sanchez will probably be the one getting most of the reps during training camp.
The future of the Jets? Few doubt Smith’s ability to make plays with his arm, and his overall accuracy. He’s shown it in college, and he’s shown it in workouts he performed prior to the draft. But is his personality the right fit? There have been a few “divas” at quarterback around the NFL, some of them going on to be big stars. People follow leaders, even if they aren’t the nicest people on the team.
Smith’s fellow rookies call him a leader, while Ryan is pleased with the personality he’s seeing from the former Mountaineer so far. There’s a chance we might not get a chance to really see him develop this season, but it’s impossible to know in a wide open quarterback battle for a team that will do badly, regardless of who’s calling the shots behind center.