Geno Smith expects to be the Jets' starting quarterback

Geno Smith throws the ball during a game Geno Smith throws the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins. (Dec. 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Jets' signing of free agent Michael Vick has done little to sway Geno Smith's confidence.

Asked on a conference call Monday if he still believes he'll be the team's starting quarterback, Smith offered a one-word reply: "Yes."

Smith, 23, downplayed the assumption that the Jets signed the 33-year-old Vick because they had lost confidence in him.

Asked why he remains so self-assured, Smith said: "My belief in myself, knowing that I'm going to take every action possible to get better and to come into this season a better player . . .

"I just believe with the experience that I've gained, and with the direction that we were heading in as an offense, and where I see myself as a second-year player, I just believe that I'm more than capable of being a starter."

On the first day of their offseason program, players returned to Florham Park eager to build on the "flashes" they showed at the end of 2013, center Nick Mangold said. Rex Ryan -- who made it clear to his players that "it's time to deliver" -- said he could feel a palpable "buzz" inside the building.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Smith said he intends to build on his roller-coaster rookie season.

In January, he told Newsday that "as long as there's a season next year, I'll be starting." And he still feels that way -- even with Vick's arrival last month.

Smith stressed that on-field production will be the determining factor in their quarterback competition. So although he's confident in his abilities, he's also eager to learn from and compete with his friend Vick.

"I think it'll make our team better, so I'm all for competition," Smith said of adding Vick, who spent four seasons in Philadelphia in Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast system.

"As I told you guys, I'm going to compete no matter who comes in. And I think we've got a good guy in Mike, who brings something extra to the table as far as veteran leadership into our quarterback room. As well as a guy with tremendous capabilities."

Johnson's role up in air. Ryan said Chris Johnson wasn't promised a certain amount of carries before he signed a two-year free-agent deal last week. Johnson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards for six consecutive seasons with the Titans, is expected to compete primarily with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.

"When you look at our stable of backs, it's pretty good. It kind of reminds me of my first year here," said Ryan, who in 2009 had Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene. But that doesn't mean the Jets will return to a ground-and-pound, run-oriented attack, he said.

Regardless of how Johnson is used, his new teammates are eager to see what he can do.

Said defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson: "He's a highlight reel waiting to happen."

You also may be interested in: