Geno Smith is entering the 2016 NFL season with a renewed sense of optimism and a sense of belonging with the New York Jets.
He has had to prove himself worthy each year that he’s been in New York, fighting back through personal drama and adjusting to a new level. The 2016 season, his fourth with the Jets, was supposed to be his year to shine.
Smith, the record-breaking quarterback at West Virginia, could have been the starter for the Jets this season. He worked out through minicamp and found favor with his teammates after missing most of the 2015 season.
With Ryan Fitzpatrick dealing with some contract issues, Smith looked like a clear-cut winner before training camp begins this week. Well, Fitzpatrick is the true winners as he is now at least $12 million richer. That’s what Fitzpatrick signed for on a one-year deal.
In response to the signing, Smith says he is “pissed off.” However, he is “not disappointed.”
"“I’m not disappointed,” Smith said about giving up his place atop the depth chart after practice on Thursday. “I’m kind of pissed off. It’s not a detrimental thing. It’s not where I’m pissed off at anyone, because we all want to be out there… Every guy doesn’t always get to go out there. We all know that one quarterback gets to go out there day one. That just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way. I don’t want that to become a headline, because that’s not what I’m trying to say. It’s more as a competitor (and) as a quarterback knowing what I’m capable of and really believing in myself. You want to be out there, but you have to play with the cards that you’re dealt and control what you can control and continue to get better.”"
Smith has never been short on words, dating back to his time as a phenom at West Virginia. He has always spoken the truth and tells it like it is. Whatever is weighing on his heart or his mind will come out in an interview with the media.
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Smith has always been able to perform even when people have tried to bring him down. A lot of his issues were self-inflicted, such as why he draft stock fell dramatically in 2013. He still can’t seem to escape that shadow and he will forever be haunted by the New York media.
For Smith to really reach his full potential on the football field, he needs out of New York. No matter how focused he has said he’s been or how much he thinks he can play out the game on his own, the Jets are just not a good fit.
He will be the backup in 2016, but has a chance to play right away if Fitzpatrick goes down. Smith certainly has the raw talon to be a starter in the NFL. If he wants to make a long-standing career in football, he needs to be humble. However, he also needs to be on a new team. That’s out of his control, for now.
This is the final year of Smith’s initial NFL contract. He is in the best position to find a new home, if he can wait out this year without any physical or emotional trauma.