OAKLAND, Calif. — Geno Smith was upset on a lot of levels Sunday.
First, he was miffed that he couldn’t get a win in his first start with the Giants, who fell to the Raiders, 24-17.
“I just hate to lose,” said Smith, who replaced Eli Manning as the starter. “I don’t like to lose at all at anything. I was upset that we lost.”
But there also was plenty of anger directed at former Jets coach Rex Ryan, who received some unsolicited venom from Smith, the Jets’ second-round pick in 2013.
“I did see one of my ex-coaches say he didn’t want me to be his quarterback, and that really upset me,” Smith said of listening to comments from Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, a few hours before the Giants’ game. “Guy that we saved his job in 2013. We fought our [expletive] off for him, both years. For him to come out and say that showed me how much of a coward he is.”
Smith helped the Jets finish at 8-8 in 2013. After the last game of the season — a win over the Dolphins in Miami — owner Woody Johnson announced in the locker room that Ryan would be back for the 2014 season. He was fired after going 4-12 that year.
“I was just sitting in my room watching TV,” Smith said. “I’m just watching a little bit of football, and I see that happen and it’s like, wow.
“The guy, first of all, he drafted me. Second of all, he started me. Third of all, when I gave you everything I had, I mean, to go out and say that, it’s unfortunate.”
Asked if he wants to see Ryan and speak his mind, Smith replied, “No, I don’t care to speak to him again.”
He later apologized on Twitter. “Will be better next week in all areas I apologize to #GiantsNation for my postgame comments and not getting it done today.”
Smith overcame a sluggish start against the Raiders — his first three drives were three-and-outs — and led the Giants to a late first-quarter touchdown on a 74-yard drive. But he lost two fumbles on sacks — the second of which came when the Giants had possession at the Raiders’ 4 near the end of the first half. Khalil Mack sacked Smith on the play and stole the ball from him as the two were going to the ground.
“I was actually caught getting ready to throw a pass to the end zone,” Smith said. “I felt like we had a pretty good look there, and unfortunately, he got there and got the ball out.”
Smith went 21-for-34 for 212 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. His touchdown came on a 10-yard pass to rookie tight end Evan Engram with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter and got the Giants within a field goal at 17-14. The Raiders went ahead by 10 points with a touchdown on their next drive.
“Evan does a great job,” Smith said. “He’s a rookie, but he’s a really good player. He made a tremendous catch [on a 22-yard grab late in the fourth quarter], a one-handed catch. That was beautiful. He just continues to make plays. He understands the feel for it, and any time we can get the ball in his hands, we’re trying to.”
It’s uncertain if Smith will get another start. Ben McAdoo may or may not be the coach by the time the Giants face the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium next Sunday. An ESPN report Sunday indicated McAdoo could be fired as early as Monday.
If Smith does get the start, he’ll be ready for any reaction from disgruntled Giants fans.
“I don’t think it could be any worse than what I’ve been through,” said Smith, who lost his starting job with the Jets in 2015 after being punched in the jaw by a teammate during training camp. “I learned how to tune it out. I have been through it all, and I am still standing here, so I’ll be ready for next week.”