GLENDALE, Ariz. — The one thing Geno Smith wants desperately is the one thing the Jets refuse to give him: a chance.
The starter-turned-backup finally got off the bench Monday night and appeared in a game. It was garbage time, of course, the final eight minutes of a blowout loss that had been building since the second quarter. A three-touchdown deficit and an utterly inept offensive showing ushered in “Geno Time.” But in the blink of an eye, it was over, and so was his run with the first-team offense.
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“You’ve got to go out there and win games. That’s the only way to prove it,” Smith said after the Jets’ 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. “And so you can’t really show that without being on the field. It’s as simple as that. So if you’re not out there, you can’t show much.”
Smith seemed pleased with his performance — 4-for-6 for 31 yards, plus an interception and a sack. And though he acknowledged his frustration over the team’s record (1-5) and current losing streak (four in a row), he insisted he is a team player.
“As a competitor, I want to play, at all times. I think you guys know that, I can’t reiterate that enough,” said the 2013 second-round pick, who admitted to being “antsy” about being relegated to the role of spectator. “But it’s not about me, never has been . . . We’ve got to pull ourselves out of a hole. No matter who it is, no matter how we spark this thing, we’ve got to figure out a way to get some wins and really get our offense going and get ourselves in position to feel good about ourselves, and right now we don’t.”
In recent weeks, the Jets’ offense has regressed, and so has starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even so, he received another vote of confidence from coach Todd Bowles, who named Fitzpatrick his starter for next week’s game against Baltimore shortly after Monday night’s debacle ended.
The Jets’ only points against the Cardinals were courtesy of a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
Asked if he took being replaced by Smith as a warning, Fitzpatrick said: “I don’t know. We’re sitting at 1-5, so there’s obviously stuff that needs to change.”
But the 33-year-old doesn’t believe it should be the quarterback.
“I just think the biggest thing as a quarterback is those guys in the huddle, when they look at you, you have to be confident,’’ Fitzpatrick said. “I think I have that. You can go ahead in the locker room and ask them all if you want. That’s probably the most important quality for a quarterback to have is the confidence of everybody else in that huddle.”
Smith believes he has the same level of support from his teammates.
“I mean, they tell me every day,” he said. “They tell me on a daily basis. I don’t think anyone has said anything different.”