They have already brought in a veteran quarterback and will work out the top three quarterbacks in this April’s NFL draft, but don’t think that the New York Jets have given up on Geno Smith.
At least, not yet.
Smith, set to enter his third year in the league after being a second-round pick of the Jets in 2013, is at a pivotal juncture of his career and development. It isn’t make or break for the young quarterback but his future with the team and perhaps as a starter very much rests upon this offseason. But with the Jets set to work out Jameis Winston this week and having gone to the pro day for Marcus Mariota, reading the tea leaves would indicate that the Jets are set to wave the white flag on Smith. Yet tea leaves sometimes are far from reality.
It is a new regime in Florham Park with first-year head coach Todd Bowles as well as a wet-behind-the-ears general manager in Mike Maccagnan. There’s no ties to Smith, in fact, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was brought in this offseason, has ties to Maccagnan and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. But the staff isn’t biased against Smith, either, as they haven’t been here his first two years in the league, and this can work in Smith’s favor.
“Geno is going to be given the chance to come right in and compete. It’s a new coaching staff here now and they need to kick the tires on him, see what he is all about,” a league source told Metro. “All that talk about him being traded, being cut it just doesn’t make sense.
“He has two seasons worth of starts and has had some big wins for us. He’s not getting cut, there’s too much upside to see and explore. Does that mean he’s the starter? It’s not a ‘gimme.’ He has to win it. Ryan was brought in here with the same mindset [that] the best man starts Week 1.
“But Geno is far from six-feet under around here.”
So the source is saying that there’s a chance.
Last month, Metro reported that Fitzpatrick wasn’t brought in just to mentor Smith but to compete for the starting job. The source again reiterated that the team thinks Fitzpatrick can be the Jets starter – “he can certainly win the job and people in this building think he can.” There’s reason to understand why Smith isn’t the presumptive starter heading into 2015.
Smith through two seasons has shown little if any progress. He’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in both NFL seasons and has yet to post a winning record. More often than not, he’s proven to be alright as a game manager.
What he hasn’t proven is that he can win games.
“He can do more, I think everyone knows that. Mechanically, the people in that quarterback room know there’s work to be done. He struggles with reading defenses still,” the source said.
“But after two years, his time here can’t be written off. There’s not some big movement to get rid of him. Remember, he is still on a rookie contract. Even as a backup it is still a good deal for this team.
It comes down to maturity and him taking that next step. If he can he can make things interesting around here.”