Jets fans may have their doubts about Geno Smith, but Brandon Marshall believes the third-year quarterback deserves "a second chance" to lead the Jets offense.
"I've been a fan of Geno Smith's since that day [I got to the Jets]," Marshall said on Tuesday night's episode of Showtime's "Inside the NFL." "So I'm going to stick to that. I love it. I'm proud of the kid."
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Smith made his first appearance of the 2015 season Sunday, when he replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first quarter of an eventual 34-20 loss in Oakland. Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his left thumb when he scrambled for a 12-yard gain and was tackled by Raiders safety Charles Woodson. Smith also injured his left shoulder and abdomen against the Raiders, but finished the game. It's unclear if he'll be healthy enough to play this week against Jacksonville (2-5). But if he is, Marshall believes the Jets (4-3) will be in good hands.
However, his "Inside the NFL" co-host, Boomer Esiason, isn't sold.
Esiason, a Long Island native who played quarterback for the Jets from 1993-95, said the perception is that Smith "can't do the job" as a starting NFL QB. "I believe that perception does have a tinge of reality to it because I haven't seen it," Esiason added. "I've seen some moments where he can throw the ball, physically. But I think, mentally, there are just times where he's clueless on the field."
Marshall immediately came to Smith's defense.
"Now I'm not just going to take this stance because I'm his teammate," said the star receiver, who was Smith's roommate in the offseason. "But you take a kid who hasn't played all year and you throw him in that game, and look what he did . . . He finished the game a little banged up . . . Can we give a kid, a young kid, a second chance?"
Quipped Esiason: "He's had like three different chances, hasn't he?"
Smith -- who lost the starting job to Fitzpatrick after his jaw was broken Aug. 11 during a locker-room altercation with then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali -- completed 27 of 42 attempts for 265 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's loss. After the game, he was asked if he views this week as a second chance to be a starter. "Every chance I get to step on the field is a way for me to prove my worth to whoever's watching," Smith said.
However, the Jets' QB plans are still up in the air. Fitzpatrick will have surgery at some point, possibly after the season. But for now, the coaching staff wants to see if he can practice Wednesday and Thursday before making a call on this week's starter. If Smith's left shoulder is still bothering him, the Jets -- who stood pat at Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline -- may opt to start rookie Bryce Petty against the Jaguars or sign a free agent.