Finally it’s official– The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that rookie Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We’re very comfortable with Geno,” Rex Ryan said. “I think we’re confident as a football team. As an organization, we’re confident that Geno is going to help get this job done. We recognize the challenges of a rookie quarterback, but I think each one of us will pick our own game up.
The Jets decision to start Smith comes as little surprise, purely because they had no other choice. Mark Sanchez is still ailing with a shoulder injury, Matt Simms isn’t ready and Brady Quinn has been with the team for just two days. Smith has, for all intents and purposes, won the quarterback competition by default; he was the last man standing. But Smith won’t allow the way in which he won the competition to cloud the opportunity before him.
“What’s important is the opportunity that I have, and it’s a great one,” Smith said. “I’m excited about it. I’m happy that my coaches and my teammates trust in me. To be a part of this team is a very big accomplishment for me, that alone. Not many people make the team. To be a rookie, to have an opportunity to be a starting quarterback in this league, it’s great.”
The Jets wouldn’t say whether Smith would start beyond this week. “Our focus is strictly on this game, so whether week-to-week, I don’t know, what the heck,” Rex Ryan said. “We’re not looking past Tampa Bay, I can tell you that much.”
It makes sense that the Jets are handling the situation in this way. Smith has hardly played well enough to earn the job, and the team don’t want to hand him the job, they want him to earn it. However, providing the rookie stays healthy, and shows signs of development, the Jets will cut him plenty of slack. Don’t expect to see number #6 under center anytime soon.