Head coach Rex Ryan had to field questions about a nonexistent quarterback controversy for a third straight day Wednesday. And for a third straight day, Ryan reiterated support for second-year quarterback Geno Smith, even with the Jets sitting at 1-3 and the young quarterback struggling.
The idea Smith will be replaced by veteran backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.
“It’s about wins and losses, winning more games. Ultimately, that’s the only thing,” Smith said. “I don’t think it’s about anything other than that. We just have to win. That’s a team effort, not just myself. It’s every single guy in the building working towards that. And we are, and we are getting better. But obviously we have to win and there’s a sense of urgency when it comes to that.”
Quarterback controversy is nothing new for Ryan and the Jets. First-round pick Mark Sanchez was named starter over Kellen Clemens in 2009 despite a lackluster preseason. Then in 2012, the team traded for Tim Tebow and began another year of controversy. Last season, the drafting of Smith led to another camp battle at the position, cut off by a season-ending shoulder injury to Sanchez in the third preseason game.
Now Vick is garnering more attention as Smith continues to struggle with untimely turnovers. It spilled over into the stands on Sunday when fans heckled Smith as he left the field following the Jets 24-17 loss to the Lions. Smith twice shouted “F—k you” to fans as he exited to the locker room. He apologized for the outburst in his postgame press conference.
“I think he will finish the game,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “I think we’ll play well. I think Geno will play well, I think the whole team will play well.”
Sunday’s opponent, the Chargers, are currently No. 11 in pass defense and giving up a healthy 7.2 yards per passing play.
During his locker room scrum with the media on Wednesday, Smith was asked if the insertion of Vick into a game — for a series or even a whole quarter — would be beneficial to the team. The answer from Smith left little room for interpretation.
“What team do you see doing that?” Smith said. “It’s not a question.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.