Geno Smith: Is his career over with the New York Jets?


Now that Geno Smith is sidelined for the next 6-10 weeks, speculation is rising as to whether or not his career with the New York Jets is over. There are still some question marks surrounding exactly what happened in the locker room during his altercation with IK Enemkpali, and it’s not looking good for Smith.

Even with Fitzpatrick behind him, who many consider an upgrade, Smith was the starter for this team. I’ve come out in support of Smith, being cautiously optimistic about his chances to improve over his first two seasons.

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His lower interception total was promising year-to-year and the revamped offense finally gave him weapons. Was that ever going to be enough? Recent reports are indicating not so much.

It’s starting becoming apparent that the Jets’ locker room does not have Smith’s back in the situation. The first red flag came when Darrelle Revis expressed that he held both players responsible for the altercation, even when reports claimed Smith was “sucker punched.” Even more reports coming out of the locker room claim sources from within the team express concerns over Smith’s work ethic, maturity and most importantly, his grasp of the offense overall.

Before the altercation, none of these concerns were at the forefront for the third-year quarterback. Sure, we’ve questioned his approach to the game at times and his ability to improve, but now these issues are glaring. Might I have been blind to this in the past? Perhaps, but it’s never a good sign when the sources are coming from inside the locker room.

The biggest blow to Smith, in my opinion, was head coach Todd Bowles‘ statement that he will not hand Smith the starting job when he returns from injury. This leads me to believe, despite Smith’s performance through training camp, Bowles was always on the other side of the fence when it came to his QB. Now that Smith is out, Bowles can go with who many have been hoping to see during the home opener, the NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.

August 11, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Fitzpatrick produced his best season last year before suffering a broken leg. He hasn’t looked particularly impressive during training camp, making his case uncertain for the starting role. Now that role is his and it’s his time to shine.

What does this mean for Smith’s career with the Jets? Is it over? You know what, it just might be all things considered. I’m on record stating a 2-2 or worse record should prompt a change at quarterback once Smith returns. Now that these concern’s are coming out of the locker room, I’m not so sure.

Trust will begin to erode for Smith faster than that punch landed as negative reports about him from his play-making to his character make their way through the news cycle. That’s about the worst thing that can happen to a quarterback. I still believe he has the talent to make it work. However, talent isn’t enough and in this most ultimate of team sports, trust and work ethic reign supreme over anything else, especially on a team looking to seriously contend for a deep playoff run.

A 2-2 record or better and Fitzpatrick remains the starter. The first four games of the season aren’t particularly loaded with defensive tests for Fitzpatrick, aside from the Miami Dolphins. If he can play to his average, and keep the interceptions to a bare minimum, it may be enough with the vastly improved defense on the other side.

May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks to pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

All the Jets really need is a game manager, keeping the opposing teams offense off the field and eating as much time as possible. The earliest Smith can return is Week 6, and if the Jets are rolling by then, no way Fitzpatrick gets replaced past the quarter mark of the regular season.

I won’t say for certain Smith’s career with the Jets is over. If I needed to provide a percentage, I’d give it a 60/40 chance he’s done. Much of that obviously lies in how well Fitzpatrick performs and if the defense looks sharp enough to maintain dominance throughout the regular season.

We’ll get a pretty good idea of how up to the challenge the defense is in Week 2 when the Jets visit the Indianapolis Colts in what can be an early season statement game for the defense and Fitzpatrick. If Smith does not see a start at all in 2015, then I will say without a doubt his career is over with the Jets. As of now, it’s too early to make that call, but it really doesn’t look good for him in the grand scheme of things.

Next: New York Jets: Quarterback situation is a mess once again

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