Jets will go as far as QB Smith can take them
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Geno Smith has noticed his teammates responding differently to him these days.
A year ago, he was merely a wide-eyed rookie trying to find his way in the NFL. Now, he’s the undisputed starting quarterback of the New York Jets.
Smith is brimming with confidence, and with that comes increased respect in the locker room. The bottom line, though, is the success — or failure — of Rex Ryan’s team could depend on Smith’s performance this season.
“You can only inspire the guys and you can only be that leader if you are on top of your game and you know what you’re doing,” Smith said. “I appreciate the fact that they have always stuck with me and they have always been confident in me because they’ve seen the way that I can bounce back from a tough game.”
He had plenty of those last season, when he threw 12 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. But Smith also had some promising moments, particularly during a four-game stretch in which the Jets went 3-1 to end the season 8-8 and saved Ryan’s job.
The Jets went into the offseason determined to give Smith every opportunity to show he deserved to be the starter. They also brought in Michael Vick to push Smith, as well as to mentor him — and to be ready to step in if Smith struggled.