Mehta: Hey Jets, in any time zone, Geno Smith should hit the bench

By on October 9, 2014

Geno Smith isn't producing on the field and isn't conducting himself professionally off of it, which means it is time for him to grab some pine on the Jets sidelines.Robert Sabo/New York Daily News Geno Smith isn’t producing on the field and isn’t conducting himself professionally off of it, which means it is time for him to grab some pine on the Jets sidelines. Michael Vick, who is doing and saying all the right things, should take over the starting QB job.Robert Sabo/New York Daily News Michael Vick, who is doing and saying all the right things, should take over the starting QB job. Previous Next

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith #7 when the New York Jets practiced Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at their training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News)
  • New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick #1 when the New York Jets practiced Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at their training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News)

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Geno Smith, the foul-mouthed, movie-goer quarterback, talks a good game, but his time-zone challenged derriere should be planted on the bench Sunday against the Broncos.

At a time when the Jets should hold Smith accountable for skipping out on a team meeting on the eve of the shutout loss to the Chargers, Rex Ryan has curiously coddled the second-year “pro,” making excuses for a player who has not earned the right to be the starter right now.

Ryan said he consulted GM John Idzik (shocking!) before deciding to play Smith in San Diego. Although Smith said Wednesday that he received support from his teammates after apologizing for his gaffe, the Daily News received less-than-favorable feedback from team members, who are not thrilled with how the quarterback has acted recently. One starter, who actually attended every meeting, believed Smith’s flop in the first half that got him benched was predictable given his sloppy preparation the night before.

Members of the organization don’t want to dwell on Smith’s pair of recent slip-ups — remember, he cursed out a fan twice after a home loss to the Lions two weeks ago — but they aren’t happy with how this so-called leader has comported himself.

Smith’s convoluted explanation of the time-zone mix-up — he had a revelation 30 minutes into watching an unnamed movie that a team meeting might be taking place (insert eye-roll here) — matched Ryan’s insistence Wednesday that this player is a leader. Sometimes. Sort of. Maybe.

“Is it 100%?” Ryan said after waxing poetic about Smith’s command of the offense and work habits. “Like some of the things like missing a meeting? Obviously that’s not typical of what a leader would do.”

So the 1-4 Jets have a part-time leader at quarterback. Got it.

Smith’s lack of off-field professionalism aside, he simply hasn’t produced on Sunday afternoons. Smith is tied for the most interceptions (6) and turnovers (8) in the league. Tennessee’s Jake Locker is the only current starter with a worse completion percentage.

Translation: Smith stinks right now.

For an organization rooted in Idzik’s (laughably selective) competition mantra, Smith obviously hasn’t earned the right to remain the starter over Mike Vick through the first five weeks. When asked whether he believed his production to this point warranted keeping the job over Vick, Smith predictably repeated what everyone already knows. “Those decisions are made by the coaches,” Smith said. “My job is to go out there (and) try to earn their respect every single day.”

F-bombs to Woody Johnson’s paying customers and figurative slaps in your teammates’ faces by missing meetings is no way to earn that respect. Making poor on-field decisions over and over and over is no way to earn that respect.

So, he needs to sit.

The Jets are on the edge of the cliff to nowhere, a scary place to be one week into October, but have a chance to keep the season alive if they can somehow beat the Broncos and Patriots within a critical five-day stretch.

Vick gives the Jets the best chance to pull off a couple of miracles. Smith, who has regressed after a solid final month in his rookie season, has shown no indication that he is the man to lead the Jets out of this football-field sized hole.

Ryan incredibly said that the inaccurate, turnover-prone Smith still gives the Jets a better chance to win than Vick, who has actually proven that he can rally and lead teams during his career. “We’ll find out if he has the ability to persevere,” Vick said of the guy above him on the depth chart.

Smith continued to spit out programmed answers about his recent mistakes. It can’t happen again. It won’t happen again. Work harder. Watch film. Stay humble. We’ve heard all of this before after past errors on and off the field. Sooner or later, the words ring hollow. Smith talks about “outside distractions” as if he didn’t create this mess with his potty mouth, lack of “clock management” and terrible play.

H e’ll return to MetLife Stadium Sunday for the first time since Jets fans booed him and started chanting for Vick a couple weeks ago. No word if the fans fall under Smith’s “outside distractions” category, but he maintained that he hasn’t really thought about how he’ll react if the home crowd turns sour if/when he doesn’t play well.

“Will they turn on me?” Smith said. “I don’t know. I can’t really focus on that. I don’t know what’s going to happen when mistakes happen, because they do happen. If that does happen, I’ve just got to motor through it and keep working.”

Smith’s struggles contrast starkly with the success of his Broncos counterpart, Peyton Manning, who is the Anti-Geno in every imaginable way.

“The guy doesn’t get lackadaisical with anything he does, from the film room to the weight room to the walk-throughs on the field,” former Bronco Eric Decker said. “Everything is done with a purpose. . . . He definitely was a player-coach.”

Smith has said that Manning is one of his personal favorites. “Watching a guy like that is something I can learn from definitely,” Smith said. “I’ve been watching him for years.”

Watching is the only thing Smith should do on Sunday.

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