Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Now, Geno the Jets' QB

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Now, Geno the Jets' QB

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK - Geno Smith is atop the Jets' depth chart at quarterback.

But that status is written in pencil, and easily could be wiped out by a signature in ink.

The Jets have made it clear that if they re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, he will take on the role of starting quarterback. But with the contract impasse between the Jets and free agent Fitzpatrick more than two months old, Smith is getting a chance to show off his skills during organized team activities.

The Jets held the second of their 10 OTAs on Wednesday. It was the first one open to the media. Smith, a fourth-year-pro, worked with the starters.

"Every player in the NFL, I think, deserves a fair opportunity," Smith said after practice. "Whether or not that's the case, who knows? I believe that I do have an opportunity here and I've just got to take advantage of it."

It appeared Smith would have the opportunity to be the starter last year, after having held that position in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was on track to be the No. 1 quarterback until he suffered a fractured jaw when he was punched by then-teammate IK Enemkpali on Aug. 11. Fitzpartrick took over and set a club record with 31 touchdown passes while nearly guiding the Jets to a playoff berth.

Smith played in only one game, relieving an injured Fitzpatrick at Oakland.

"I'm not going to talk about last year," said Smith, who spoke to reporters for the first time since Jan. 4, the day after Gang Green's season ended with a loss at Buffalo. "I'm only focused on the future."

However, he talked a bit later about how he kept what happened last year from affecting him negatively.

"I'm always upbeat," Smith told The Record. "I think everything happens for a reason. My life is great, phenomenal, so I can't look at [last season] as a negative. Negative things happen all the time and you've just go to move on through it. …

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