Geno Smith still believes Jets are his team

By on April 30, 2015

While his first two seasons have earned a thumbs-down, Geno Smith says he is not giving up his job as Jets’ starting quarterback without a fight.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

While his first two seasons have earned a thumbs-down, Geno Smith says he is not giving up his job as Jets’ starting quarterback without a fight.

The Jets are eyeing other quarterbacks and Geno Smith knows it.

How could he not?

Gang Green, which owns the sixth pick of the NFL draft, which kicks off on Thursday night, has done its homework on the top-tier quarterbacks, especially Marcus Mariota, with whom the Jets had a private workout and brought in for a pre-draft visit. They’ve also taken looks at the second grouping of QBs, Bryce Petty (visit), Garrett Grayson (visit) and Brett Hundley (attended pro day). Given how poorly Smith has played the last two seasons, it’s no surprise the Jets are considering alternatives.

But Smith said he isn’t paying heed to the potential draft picks, and insists he’s focused on keeping his role as the Jets’ starting quarterback.

“You have to expect anything. But going out there, I believe this is my team,” Smith said Wednesday. “I go out there and I work hard and I try to lead the guys the best way that I can.”

“I don’t listen to the outside noise,” he added about the draft. “I don’t think it’s important at all. I don’t think it motivates me. I’m motivated by the fact that we need to win.”

Smith’s approach and confidence ought to please new coach Todd Bowles, who simply needs better play at quarterback, regardless of where it comes from. “If you look at what we draft instead of worrying about what you can do, you’re going to lose your spot,” Bowles said Wednesday.

Smith benefitted from the backing of John Idzik and a front office that drafted him the last two seasons, but might not find the same loyalty from the new administration of Bowles and Mike Maccagnan. Smith said that didn’t change anything for him and that he treats all competition the same, although he probably won’t go into this year’s starting battle against Ryan Fitzpatrick with quite the edge he held a year ago over Mike Vick.

Still, Smith will begin the competition as the starter — although all bets are off if the Jets somehow land Mariota — and has earned some early praise from Bowles.

“He’s been positive. He’s been accurate. Especially in the individual drills,” Bowles said. “They’ve got to get the timing down. It’s a real early process, but his spirit is strong, his information gathering is good. And he’s gung-ho and he understands what it takes to lead this team.”

Calvin Pryor and Jeremy Kerley, who were each absent on Tuesday, were present and participated in Wednesday’s practice. Sheldon Richardson was again missing at the voluntary minicamp.

Bowles said he didn’t know what timetables Stevan Ridley (torn ACL) and Dee Milliner (Achillles) will be on to return to the field. Ridley tore his ACL in October when he was playing for the Patriots… Nose tackle Damon Harrison said he signed his restricted free agent tender earlier this week.

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