After the New York Jets fell to the New York Giants in Friday night’s Snoopy Bowl, Rex Ryan revealed what the rest of the nation has known for weeks: Geno Smith will be the Jets starter at quarterback for the upcoming season.
You could say that Smith beat out Michael Vick for the spot, but that’s not exactly how the Virginia Tech product viewed the “competition.” He maintained since joining the team in the spring, that he was there to support Smith and help him be the best he can be. The company line was that Vick was brought in to challenge Smith for the job. The “challenge” never materialized as Smith took roughly 80% of the first-team reps during training camp and the preseason.
In what was a real battle to start for the Jets last year between the then rookie Smith and the incumbent Mark Sanchez, Smith took slightly less of the first team reps than Sanchez. Smith was allowed to show he had what it took to start by running often with the first-team offense. Vick had no such chance.
The job was Smith’s to lose. Period.
“He’s done everything that we’ve asked,” Ryan said of Smith after last night’s game.
After the up-and-down rookie season in which he guided the Jets to an 8-8 record and threw 12 TDs against 21 INTs. After going for an entire month during the season without throwing a TD pass, Smith ranked second in the NFL in QB rating (behind only Peyton Manning) during December.
Smith took his strong finish to his rookie campaign and rolled with it right into the offseason and summer, studying and training diligently to improve. So far through camp and the first two preseason games, he has shown more poise, more composure, more control in the huddle and in the pocket, and made better decisions on when to throw the ball and on when to tuck and run.
Thus far in three games this preseason, Smith has completed 70 percent of his passes (23 for 33) for 268 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also has eight rushes for 47 yards and one TD.
“All along, I’ve had the notion that I’d be out there Week 1,” Smith said, when he received the news from reporters. “The handwriting was pretty much on the wall. It’s a big deal, but nothing will change. It’s the same mindset for me.”