Geno Smith’s injured ankle is getting better and it might allow him to start next week when the Jets kickoff their regular season. He might not be the ideal option at this point but the team might need him.
With Mark Sanchez, the likely starter at this juncture, unable to practice this week or play against the Eagles on Thursday with a shoulder injury, Smith will likely start against the Buccaneers if Sanchez can’t go.
He said he doesn’t know what the plan is for Week 1, but it won’t affect his preparation.
“Business as usual and that’s something that I always do and whether I am or not [starting], I will always approach it the same way,” Smith said. “So I’m going to continue to study hard. I’ve already watched a ton of film on the Buccaneers so far. I’m just going to work extremely hard and prepare my mind and body for the upcoming game.”
Head coach Rex Ryan again refrained from announcing a starter for the regular-season opener after the win on Thursday. Smith was inactive for the preseason finale merely for precautionary reasons.
In his stead, Matt Simms started and played deep into the fourth quarter for the Jets. He was impressive as he went 33-for-44 for 285 yards and moved the Jets effectively down the field and limited his mistakes.
Simms also performed well last week in the fourth quarter and overtime in a win against the Giants. He has perhaps played himself into a roster spot. Last year’s No. 3 quarterback, Greg McElroy, has not played the last three games after suffering a knee injury in the first game of preseason. The spot could be there for Simms to take and he made a strong argument for it on Thursday night.
What that means is that Smith, who played very little in the first game of preseason and underwhelmed last weekend against the Giants with three interceptions, could be the Week 1 starter. For the rookie, it would be a tall task against a revamped Buccaneers defense with little preseason experience to lean on.
“I felt comfortable in my first play. I felt comfortable last week. I think that’s kind of just my demeanor,” Smith said. “Whether or not I played enough, who’s to say? That’s hypothetical. I definitely gained a lot of experience in my time in the games. Whether or not I’m ready we’ll find out on game day. I think I’ll be ready for it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.