Guarded Optimism For Geno Smith at New York Jets Press Conference


The New York Jets finally unveiled their new hierarchy with a press conference led by team owner Woody Johnson, who introduced new general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles to the media in attendance. All smiles and words of encouragement when the housecleaning is complete and the records go back to zero.

But there must have been one person shaking his head after watching it and he just also happens to be the most important player on the Jets’ roster.

Geno Smith began and finished the season as the starting quarterback but was benched partly through for ineffectiveness. He took a major step back in his development in his second year in the league and there are no guarantees that he will be given the job moving forward.

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Both Maccagnan and Bowles addressed Smith, with neither man exactly giving the West Virginia alum a reason to feel totally comfortable, but that he is at least going to be part of the mix. Perhaps it is because they are looking ahead and realize that there may not be many other options available to them in 2015.

The two top quarterbacks coming out of college – Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota – will in all likelihood be off the board by the time the Jets pick sixth in the 2015 NFL Draft. Barring trading up, Maccagnan will have to look at that position in one of the later rounds. He can also address it via free agency, but this year’s class is not that much of an upgrade from Smith.

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Chances are that once the Jets report for mini camp, it will be Smith, last year’s third stringer Matt Simms and a veteran back-up signed to a one-year deal like Michael Vick was in 2014.

Maccagnan was even reaching when he called Smith a “great college quarterback” at the press conference, but he is certainly correct by not making that a broader statement also covering Smith’s NFL career so far.

Bowles speaking about Chan Gailey being named offensive coordinator followed that up:

"He can get the most out of the least players that he has. He’s done it with a lot of different quarterbacks from Kordell Stewart to Ryan Fitzpatrick. He knows how to run the football; he understands complimentary football. We understand that if Geno is our guy going forward, then we have to get some people around him to do a lot of things better. And that made it a priority for me to go out and get him (Gailey)."

Neither Stewart nor Fitzpatrick will ever be confused for Dan Marino or either Manning brother, so Bowles’s comments are also very realistic. Smith is not the type of quarterback that makes the players around him better, but rather one who needs better players around him.

Yes, there is a lot of work to be done here. But it appears – judging by their first time at bat – that Maccagnan and Bowles know what they have…or should we say what they don’t have.

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