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In the end, Rex Ryan may be doing Geno Smith the biggest disservice of all by anointing his prized, young and impressionable quarterback a level of NFL pedigree he’s done very little to deserve up until this point.
Before anyone could so much as say three more turnovers, there was Ryan, boldly standing and loudly pronouncing, after the Jets 24-17 home loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday that Smith would remain his starter in Week 5 even though the Jets have now dropped three in a row and the second-year signal-caller has done little to evoke optimism among his teammates that the trend might be reversing itself anytime soon.
Okay, okay, a few rowdy and overly vociferous fans did have their say, chanting throughout the game “we want (Michael) Vick,” with at least one of them heckling Smith to the point of a profanity-laced retort as he limped out of MetLife Stadium for the sanctity of the team locker room. One can only imagine what he truly encountered once he staggered in.
Such are the unknown perils of being the face of a lost season before your teammates have even had so much of a chance as to play out a quarter of their schedule. But with Geno Smith throwing ducks and coughing up the pigskin as is alarmingly becoming his custom and Rex Ryan vowing to stick by him no matter how many red flags are raised, what are his teammates to think and conclude?
“I want to apologize if any kid saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field,” Smith told reporters of his outburst during his postgame news conference. “I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation.”
If only Ryan felt such remorse about putting the Jets season in the kind of grave jeopardy that he has. If only he’d be willing to admit that perhaps he let his excitement over Smith’s obvious potential cloud his judgment to the point of expecting too much from him too soon.
Given his two lost fumbles and interception against the Lions, the 23-year-old Smith now has eight turnovers in four games this season. All that calamity comes on the heels of a rookie season in which he suffered through an eye-popping 25 turnovers.
Still, he seemingly can do no wrong in Rex Ryan’s eyes. “I’m not going to replace him,” said Ryan, looking ahead to next week’s tilt with Philip Rivers and San Diego and ignoring the fact that he has Vick as a tried and true insurance policy. “I feel good about Geno.”
If only Jets fans could say the same about their suddenly spiraling season.
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