Brad Smith still the Wildcat in Buffalo

Brad Smith, right, is still trying to acclimate to the Buffalo offense.

He was Mr. Versatility last year for the Jets and though he now plays for the Bills, Brad Smith is making just as big of an impact for his new team. New meets old on Sunday when the Jets travel to Buffalo to face Smith and his 5-2 Bills.

Smith is returning kickoffs, catching balls and playing in the Bills’ version of the Wildcat, bringing his unique athleticism to upstate New York. It was his combination of size and speed that led the Jets to gamble with a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and take a quarterback from Missouri, turning him into a wide receiver and kickoff returner who would dabble under center from time to time.

And it’s that role in the Wildcat where the Jets miss him the most.

“Brad is the best Wildcat quarterback in the league, or Wildcat running back. With Brad, it’s quarterback, because you have to defend the pass, as well,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “We hated to see him leave, but sometimes that happens. You have 19 unsigned free agents. We knew it was going to be a challenge, but we definitely wanted Brad back. Unfortunately, we were unable to sign him.”

Smith, however, is slowly getting acclimated to his new team and while he is making an impact in several different facets of the game, his role is still growing. Due to the lockout that nearly threatened the season, Smith wasn’t able to get an extended offseason with his new team to learn the wrinkles of how they will use him.

“We didn’t get an offseason to implement him and to implement the things that I think he’ll be able to do long-term for us,” Bills head coach Chan Gailey said.

There has been some frustration in getting Smith fully integrated to the Bills offense.

“I think it’s just coming from nowhere. No background with each other; learning the entire offense at quarterback and at receiver. Just trying to get the plays down for the future,” Smith said. “They were able to work me in a few times to get the Wildcat stuff in. It was never a big deal to me. It’s more about winning and both things don’t always show up.”

With the Jets’ offseason moves, including re-signing Santonio Holmes and bringing in wide receivers Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, Smith never seemed likely to return to the team that drafted him. Though he was a fan favorite and valuable to both the offense and the special teams, the Jets made a choice to let Smith go. He admits that there will be a lot of emotions on Sunday as he faces the team that took a chance on him when he was a bit of an unknown coming out of college.

He called his experience with the Jets “very comfortable.”

“It was a place that I liked playing — the organization, the people. I was very comfortable there and I liked it. Being here in Buffalo is definitely a growing experience just personally as a football player, just learning and have a chance to be around these guys who have an unbelievable drive to win,” Smith said. “It’s helping me grow and hopefully I’ll contribute something to help them.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.