FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Despite statistical evidence to the contrary, Geno Smith stood by his assertion that he's shown "flashes of being a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback'' with the Jets.
"Yeah, in certain games,'' Smith said Wednesday, echoing comments he made to Newsday the night before. "I feel like I have the tools, I have what it takes to be that. Those are always my goals. I always set the bar high for myself, but I do realize that I've been inconsistent and I've had my struggles at times as well.
" . . . I believe in myself [and] that I'll be more of the guy that you see doing well rather than the guy who struggles at times.''
During an interview at a Manhattan charity event Tuesday night, Smith told Newsday he believes he can be the face of the Jets franchise.
"If anyone wants to know if I'm the future or the franchise [quarterback],'' he said, "you can just look at the way I've handled myself in the face of adversity.''
But his stat sheet says otherwise.
Smith, who was benched for three games in favor of Michael Vick this season, has thrown eight pick-6s and committed 39 turnovers in 26 career starts. Since the Jets drafted him 39th overall in 2013, he's thrown more interceptions (33) than touchdown passes (20) and has the worst passer rating in the NFL the past two seasons.
Although Rex Ryan tried not to slight Smith, the Jets coach couldn't help but smile when asked about Smith's claim of showing "flashes'' of Pro Bowl talent.
"Yeah . . . and then he hasn't,'' Ryan joked.
"But really, I believe that his point is, obviously, that is what you strive to do. You never want to take away somebody's belief in themselves and that kind of confidence, because at times he has played really well. But what you're trying to get at is that consistency.''
On Wednesday, Smith maintained his confidence is high, but he stressed that "consistency is the main goal.
"With that statement that I made [Tuesday], I felt like I've played good at times, but not as much as I need to, not every game,'' Smith said. "And in this league, the quarterback's got to be the guy who comes out and is always consistent in order for the team to do well.''
Ryan did say Smith has had "some phenomenal games'' and that he has the "arm talent to play in this league.''
"I truly believe that Geno Smith is going to be a good quarterback in this league,'' Ryan said.
But it's unclear if Smith will be the Jets starter in 2015.
The 24-year-old admitted NFL players "always worry'' about job security, but he said playing well is "the only way that I can prove anything to anyone.''
But even as he prepares for his next opponent, the Titans (2-11), Smith knows there are Jets fans clamoring for his replacement -- namely Marcus Mariota of Oregon or Florida State's Jameis Winston.
Smith said he takes "a little bit'' of offense to fans hoping the Jets (2-11) tank their remaining three games in order to snag a top-tier quarterback in the draft.
"I'm not going to sit here and say I'm immune to it,'' Smith said. "But my demeanor is always work hard and stand firm and believe in myself. So I'm not going to ever waver in no way. I'm not going to let that sidetrack me from what my focus is, which is to continue to get better and to lead this team.''