Sportress of Blogitude

Geno Smith receives vote of confidence from Jets OC Chan Gailey

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By Jason Rowan

Geno Smith currently stands as the presumptive starting quarterback for the New York Jets, mostly as a result of the contract impasse hampering the team from bringing back last year’s starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Despite Smith’s spotty track record in the NFL on the field — not to mention some unfortunate incidents off of it, specifically highlighted by him getting sucker-punched by a former teammate — Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey offered some words of encouragement for the soon-to-be fourth-year quarterback, suggesting Smith has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year.

“He’s learned so much in one year,” Gailey said at Jets linebacker David Harris’ charity golf event, via NJ.com’s Darryl Slater. “The one game he played in last year [in Oakland], I thought he did very well. There’s always room for improvement, but I thought he did very well. And I think he’s made giant steps. I think he’s right on track for where I’d like him to be.”

Smith of course lost the starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick ahead of last season after suffering a broken jaw courtesy of punch from then-teammate  IK Enemkpali, an injury that required surgery. Fitzpatrick’s steady play prevented him from ever reclaiming it.

While several Jets players — including Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker— have pressured the Jets publicly to bring back Fitzpatrick, even Marshall has acknowledged that the team would be “okay” with the quarterbacks currently on the squad. This crew of course includes Smith, but Bryce Petty and second-round pick Christian Hackenberg are also in the fold.

Last week, Jets owner Woody Johnson expressed optimism that Fitzpatrick will be under center for the team come the 2016 NFL season, but even he hedged his bets somewhat and voiced support for Smith as recently as late January.

As noted, Smith’s play at the NFL level has been uneven at best. In three seasons with the Jets, Smith has posted a 72.3 rating to go along with 27 touchdowns, 35 interceptions and a 58 percent completion percentage.