At least for the moment, Rex Ryan laid to rest any speculation that he's considering benching Smith after a rocky trip to Tennessee ended with a 38-13 loss. "It's not a thought at this point right now,'' Ryan said.Ryan is seemingly in a quandary right now. Ryan knows he wants and needs an attacking offense; the coach made it known after last season that he didn't want to be a simple ground and pound offense anymore. So, now that the Jets have a quarterback with a gifted arm to attack a defense downfield, it just so happens to reside in the body of a rookie who has to quickly pick up the nuances of playing the quarterback position in the NFL. Geno's struggles last weekend with ball security is an excellent example of that, as is his tendency to float too deep to draw blitzers in on screen plays is another.
But while the Jets (2-2) still believe in Smith's ability, a frustrated Ryan stressed Monday that "a lot of different things'' need to be fixed. And that includes the quarterback play.
"I understand that you can't buy experience, but we still have to do a much better job, Geno in particular. We have to protect the football at all costs,'' said Ryan, who pointed to Smith's "nonchalant'' ball protection.
While he "absolutely'' believes Smith will improve, he added: "I think sometimes it's something that you have to see. I don't think there's any doubt it's going to get better."
As Rex said after the game, everyone needs to improve, but Rex knows that Geno is a key to the team's overall improvement. While what Rex said yesterday isn't an ultimatum, it does sound as if Rex would consider his options if the problems persist. If we accept the notion that Rex is coaching for his future in New York, then Geno's play is a major factor in the outcome right now.
Geno's play is going to have to make many of those small improvements quickly with teams like Atlanta, the Patriots, Bengals and Saints coming up soon.