Despite struggling, Geno Smith still has chance to start

Geno Smith looks to pass during the second

Geno Smith looks to pass during the second half of a preseason game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. (Aug. 24, 2013) (Credit: Lee S. Weissman)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - With three interceptions and a safety in Saturday's preseason win over the Giants, it seemed as if Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith had blown his shot at the starting job. But there he was running the show in practice Monday while Mark Sanchez sat on an exercise bike nursing his injured right shoulder.

The game clearly still is on because Smith hasn't heard otherwise from the coaching staff.

"I've been working hard to prepare myself to be a starter Week 1,'' Smith said Monday. "We're still in open competition. Every single thing is going to be evaluated.''

The question is whether the evaluation of Smith will be confined to what he does in practice or whether the Jets will expose him to injury in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Eagles or go with backups Greg McElroy and Matt Simms. Asked if he knows whether he's playing, Smith said, "No, I don't. I'll take it day by day and continue to work hard in practice as if I am.''

Smith's performance against the Giants seemed like a step back. Coach Rex Ryan credited defensive end Justin Tuck with making a great play on one interception, but it appeared Smith stared at his receiver the whole way. Cornerback Prince Amukamara, who also picked off Smith, said he was "staring down'' his receivers.

Smith denied it, saying, "Nah, I was going through my normal reads. I may have been late on a couple of passes here or there. Some passes weren't as sharp as I've always been. But it's something that can be corrected.

"Every single mistake that you make as a rookie, as a player in general, is something you can learn from. In my first actual start, I felt pretty good aside from those mistakes that can be corrected.''

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