As news filtered out of Florham Park, New Jersey last week surrounding the broken jaw of starting quarterback Geno Smith, there seemed to be a familiar refrain from those who know this organization: “Same Old Jets.” Even with new leadership, these strange stories seem to happen to only one team in pro football.
Now, we know that is not the case. Heck, the Giants are still waiting for JPP to sign his franchise tender and report to camp after severely injuring his hand in Fourth of July fireworks accident.
But getting back to the Jets, we now know more of the particulars surrounding the punch that was thrown by linebacker IK Enemkpali. Money was owed and it was not paid. Voices were raised and Smith reportedly put his finger in the face of Enemkpali before a punch was thrown. Smith is out six-to-10 weeks and Enemkpali was let go and is now a member of the Buffalo Bills after being claimed off of waivers. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback for the Jets.
Now we deal with the aftermath. Who is at fault? Who is to blame?
Blame goes all the way around, as Jets head coach Todd Bowles said, “it takes two to tango.”
I am not one who is going to blame the victim but if you are a starting quarterback in the NFL, you can’t put yourself in these situations either.
It is not about a lack of leadership or respect in the locker room, it is the mindset of the player, and that is the huge concern that people have always had about Geno Smith. He does not seem to have the maturity level that you need to play the most important position in the NFL.
I never liked Smith as a pro prospect when the Jets drafted him in the second round out of West Virginia. There seemed to be something missing, even though he had all the physical tools that you are looking for to be successful in the NFL.
There was the incident on the airplane when he refused to get off of his cell phone. Do many starting quarterbacks in the NFL curse at their fans when walking off the field? The answer to that is, no. How about missing a team meeting? As we saw last year, Smith missed a team meeting in San Diego because he was reportedly at a movie theatre. Good times.
He might have all the physical tools to be a success in the NFL, but he does not have the commitment and the mindset. That is the problem with Smith. He does not get it and I don’t think he ever will. I don’t blame Smith for getting assaulted. I blame him for not knowing any better and putting himself in the situation in the first place. He had too much to lose. He was a starting quarterback in the NFL, and I use the past tense for a reason. He is hurt now and I don’t think he will ever start another game for the Jets.
After all of this, if the brain-trust for the Jets still thinks Smith could be a solution at the quarterback position, then shame on them. Then it really would be “Same Old Jets.”
Ultimately, the punch did not help the Jets for 2015 because Fitzpatrick is not a better option at the quarterback position. But I do think it helped the Jets make their long-term decision on Geno Smith.