The New York Jets tried to stop the rumors about the quarterback position by naming Geno Smith as the starter for the 2015 season, but that may not be the end of the story.
On the second day of voluntary organized team activities, the team publicly announced that there would be no competition between Smith and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. New offensive coordinator Chan Gailey praised Smith, who has been through a shaky first two season, and said he would go into the season as the team’s starter.
“We saw a lot of talent on film,” Gailey said Wednesday at the team’s facility. “We saw a lot of promise on film. We saw a lot of things that made us think he could eventually be a good quarterback. It’s hard to have a quarterback competition going into the regular season. Once we decided that (Smith) was the guy that we felt would be the best option at this point for us, that’s the direction we went in.”
The Jets picked up Bryce Petty in the fourth round of this year’s draft, but he doesn’t appear to factor much into the equation for the team’s starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick could be a different story. Now on his sixth team, Fitzpatrick has a knack for coming in off the bench and holding down a starting job.
Chan Gailey is also very familiar with Fitzpatrick. Gailey was head coach of the Buffalo Bills when Fitzpatrick had the best seasons of his career, and Gailey knows exactly how to get the most out of the former seventh round draft pick.
Still, when Smith was asked if he felt threatened by the veteran Fitzpatrick and promising Petty on the bench behind him, he didn’t seem worried.
“I think threatened is a strong word. Obviously, there’s competition. You’ve always got to be mindful of the fact that you have to show up every single day,” Smith said. “I just always go into it with the right mindset, believing that if I do what I have to do and take care of my job, I’ll be out there. My main focus right now is to focus on today.”
While the rumors regarding the New York Jets’ quarterback position may be put to rest for the moment, if the team stumbles out of the gate — especially with Tom Brady’s suspension creating an opening in the AFC East — the Jets may be quick with the hook.
[Image via Getty Images/Will Schneekloth]