Geno Smith just wants a chance.
Despite his purported self-confidence and belief in his ability, the Jets quarterback is under no illusions about his future. And there's a good chance whoever owner Woody Johnson hires as his next general manager and head coach may not be sold on Smith as the face of the franchise.
"Well, all I can ask for is a chance to compete,'' Smith said Monday, the same day he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers. "I love to compete. I believe in myself, like I said, and I just want to go out there and try to help this team get better.''
After firing head coach Rex Ryan and second-year GM John Idzik Monday morning, Johnson admitted the organization is venturing into unchartered waters trying to fill two key front-office positions. A few hours later, Smith lamented: "Today's news obviously isn't good for anyone.''
Especially for him.
Idzik drafted Smith with the 39th overall pick in 2013 and, despite Ryan's decision to bench Smith for three games during the season, the coach went back to Smith instead of sticking with veteran Michael Vick.
Smith's career day against the Dolphins in Sunday's season finale was a prime example of all the good he can do on the field: a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating, 358 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. But his 41 turnovers (34 interceptions, seven lost fumbles) and 11-18 record in two years can't be ignored by the Jets.
It'll be extremely surprising if they decide not to bring in a new quarterback, be it through the draft or free agency. And even Smith knows it. The Jets, who finished the season 4-12, have the No. 6 pick in the draft.
And if the team does select a quarterback at some point in the draft, Smith said he'll do one thing: "Just go in there and compete . . . Whatever I can do to help this team win is what I will do.''
He reiterated that he has "the ability to be a starting quarterback,'' but acknowledged that there are no guarantees he'll be the starter again next season.
"I mean that is up to the coach,'' Smith said. "I can't play the hypothetical game right now. We don't even know who the guy is or who the GM is. So, once we find out everything, and really get all the information, I think we will have more answers.''
Smith stressed that he'll spend the offseason watching film and doing everything in his power to fine-tune his game. But he also said he believes he's done enough in his first two seasons to warrant being the starter in 2015.
"I have gotten better,'' he said. "I can feel it, I can feel it in myself, the growth but I still have a long way to go and I have to keep working . . . All I can do is continue to improve.
"I don't know what someone else's opinion on me will be, but I think I have continued to improve and I have shown enough, yes.''