CORTLAND, N.Y. - Geno Smith is very clear about who and what he is. He's the Jets' starting quarterback, and he hopes their franchise quarterback.
"My job now is to go out there on the field and show it and exhibit what the coaches and the players have been saying because I'm the quarterback," Smith told Newsday after Tuesday's practice. "And you want to do good and want to win games. That's what it's all about."
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He said he's felt that way ever since he was drafted last year, and that the arrival of Michael Vick hasn't altered his expectations for the season.
In the midst of all the chatter about the quarterback situation, Rex Ryan and the front office continue to play a game of semantics. But on this particular afternoon, Smith provided clarity.
Shortly before Ryan danced around the topic of whether the second-year man would be the Jets' regular-season starter, Smith stood underneath the bleachers of SUNY Cortland's stadium, detailing his growth as a player and laying to rest any concerns about Vick encroaching on his territory.
Sixteen games may not seem like much, but Smith said there's a "huge difference" between the player the Jets drafted 39th overall last year and the one who will start Saturday's preseason game in Cincinnati. Despite his rookie struggles -- 25 turnovers (including 21 interceptions) and only 12 touchdowns -- confidence has never been an issue for Smith. That's why he's certain his stat-line will be much improved in 2014.
"Yeah, I had a bunch of turnovers last year," he said. "And of course you want to have less than that -- and I'm going to have less than that. Just because of the experience and knowing a lot more, seeing the field a lot better, and knowing where my guys are and where they'll be.
"So I'm not even worried about what happened last year, to tell you the truth, because I've moved on and I've gotten better from it. So I anticipate doing better things. I do have high expectations. My goals are set high."
So what can we expect to see from Smith in 2014?
"You'll see it," he said. "You'll see it when we step on the field."
Smith said he takes everything in stride, never getting too high or too low. The same was true when the Jets signed Vick to a free-agent deal in March, and it appears to be true after competing with Vick in training camp.
"You never watch over your shoulder,'' Smith said. "The minute you watch over your shoulder, you lose it."
Despite Vick's shaky showing Tuesday, the 34-year-old has impressed in his limited reps. His left arm is still electric and his feet are as fast as ever. When Vick flashes that athleticism on the field, Smith said he isn't the least bit concerned.
"I believe I can make a 30-yard run,'' Smith said. "I believe I can make those types of plays."
Smith's competition with Vick may not be on par with his battle last year with Mark Sanchez, but Smith is adamant he's earned the starting job.
"People can say what they want, but come turn on the practice film, come watch practice or turn on the game tape and you'll see what happens," he said. "So I don't try to fight those battles."
Smith has always felt this was his job, his team. Even with Sanchez, then in his fifth season, on the roster. "I felt that from Day 1,'' he said. "I felt that when they drafted me.
"I try to exhibit what it takes to be the starting quarterback and the franchise quarterback on the practice field and around the locker room with the guys. And as I play more games, I'll get better. That's just natural."