In recent weeks, there was a lot of confusion regarding Jets West and whether or not Geno Smith would be attending. First there was Geno’s “no comment” response when he was asked about it. Later, he clarified that he actually wasn’t aware of what Jets West was, and then advised he hadn’t been invited yet. Now we know, Mark has invited Geno to join the group with him, but Geno has declined, electing to stay closer to home for his workouts.
To Mark’s credit, nobody is forced to come out, it’s not a pressure situation:
“If they can make the sacrifice and be here, awesome,” Sanchez said. “If they can’t, (it’s) totally fine. And I would never hold a grudge against anybody who’s not here. But we’ve (Tim) Tebow here. We’ve had (Mark) Brunell here. We’ve had (Kevin) O’Connell. So it’s not like I don’t invite those guys. They’re more than welcome to come and we’ll invite them every year.”
The players see the value in it, but aren’t offended by the non-attendance. Here is what Konrad Reuland had to say about it:
“It would have been great to have Geno and all of the quarterbacks out here,” Reuland said. “The more , the better. However, I don’t think it’s a make it or break it type of thing. It’s still going to be camp as usual. No one’s going to win a spot based on what they do out here.”
Everyone is saying the right things, to their credit. However, it still begs the question. Is Geno Smith simply making a personal choice by not attending? Or is it something more? Tension between the two competing quarterbacks for instance? Is Geno trying to distance himself from Mark?
It is definitely a two-sided story. There would definitely be value for Geno in attending. The biggest reason would be the “chemistry” factor. Some think that is overblown, but I think there is real stock in it. Should Geno win the job, the receivers at this camp are the ones that he will be throwing to. The players are not allowed to work out at the facilities with the coaches, so this is the next best thing. Wouldn’t it be smart for Geno to take this additional time to get used to his new receivers, rather than working out with friends?