<>With rookie minicamp underway in Florham Park, the New York Jets have officially turned the page from a disappointing 2012 regular season campaign. One player that represents a fresh start, rookie signal-caller Geno Smith, is already making strides to take a stranglehold on New York’s starting quarterback job.
"I’ll leave the grading to the coaches, but I think today was another good day,” mentioned Smith who gave himself an “F” earlier in the week. "It got better again today, so that’s something that I just continue to do daily, I try to improve, even if it’s just in the smallest amount. I think I did that today."
The Jets' quarterback battle is shaking out to be a three horse race between Smith, Mark Sanchez and David Garrard. The West Virginia standout has no pro experience and both his leadership and character have been brought into question by the national media. Despite the negativity surrounding Smith, the Jets’ first year gunslinger is taking a business-like approach to practice.
“I try to be sound in the huddle, saying the cadence, going out there (with) proper footwork (and) proper depth on my drops (and) knowing my reads," admitted the rookie quarterback. “Just trying not to make mental mistakes and that’s the biggest thing, execution and operation.”
Working alongside Jets’ first year offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Smith is adapting to a West Coast style system slowly but surely."
“I try to improve on not only my understanding of the offense of what’s been installed, but my understanding of how to get in and out of the huddle at the proper pace that Coach Mornhinweg wants us to, getting up to the line, going through my proper reads and my proper depth in my drops and just putting all together,” noted Smith. “I think it’s something that needs to continue to improve and I’m just going to work hard at it and just lean on my coaches and the veterans.”
On the verge of a fierce quarterback competition this summer, Smith is determined to learn from the Jets’ elder statesmen in Garrard and Sanchez to accelerate his rookie learning curve. Realistic about the challenge ahead of him, Smith understands the complexities and nuances of playing quarterback in the NFL.
“It’s probably the toughest position in the league, so there’s a lot on my plate, but it’s just about how you handle it, said Smith. “I think overall, I’ve been doing my best to just study my playbook, I’m up late, (I) come in here early and do all the things necessary to be a good quarterback.”