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Geno Smith, Rex Ryan not concerned with negativity from outside

Jets quarterback Geno Smith stands at the bench

Jets quarterback Geno Smith stands at the bench during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, September 28, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Geno Smith appeared put off by the question.

The mere thought that he possibly could be regressing in Year 2 seemed to rub the Jets quarterback the wrong way, and he didn't waste time pointing that out.

"You guys try to make it about something else, but it's football," Smith told reporters Monday when asked if he thinks he has gone backward since his rookie year. "When you play football you understand that there are going to be ups and downs throughout a game and through a season. And the key thing is that in this locker room, we're sticking together, we're going to get better from this and we're going to continue to move forward."

When pressed further on what he specifically thinks the media is overblowing, Smith replied: "Something that's not football. It's about the game. It's about what you do between those white lines and nothing else."

The Jets have put forth a united front, with players coming to Smith's defense by taking shots at fans on air and social media in the aftermath of Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Lions. Collectively, the Jets are trying to tune out the non-believers. And Rex Ryan is determined not to let any negativity seep into his locker room.

"I'm not [concerned]," Ryan said about the possibility of a locker room split regarding their quarterback situation. "We have guys that believe in each other and I think, to a man, that our team believes in Geno."

But the questions about Smith have surfaced only because of his play between those white lines. The second-year player has eight turnovers in four games after committing 25 turnovers as a rookie.

The Jets (1-3) have the third-lowest red-zone conversion percentage with touchdowns on five of 14 drives (35.7 percent).

The chants for backup Michael Vick during the Lions game -- and Smith losing his cool with a heckling fan -- are indicative of a franchise and a fan base frustrated by mounting losses. And the calls for a change continue to grow louder among fans and some media members as Ryan reiterates his support for the struggling Smith.

Smith and the offense held a players-only meeting Monday to discuss the issues plaguing the unit. Asked if the purpose of the meeting was, in part, to help tune out the negativity outside of the facility, Smith said, "Not really."

"We make it all about us, the things that we can do better," Smith added. "We don't ever speak about those things because they really don't affect us. They don't affect me."

But he managed to take another dig at the media nonetheless.

"No grievances. I understand the semantics are a huge thing in this market, but no grievance," he said about the nature of their meeting. "I don't want you guys to get that misunderstood. No one's hanging their head around here, no one's sad, no one's down on themselves, we're ready to go out and play."

The odds already are stacked against them, but Ryan is confident his players will rebound. And the key to doing so is staying the course -- with Smith as their quarterback.

"One thing I'll promise you that our fans, everybody else will get, is what we have," Ryan said. "We will put it out there, we will work our tails off to find a way to get better and I believe we will get better and I think we have gotten better. It hasn't resulted in the wins and losses yet, but I think the key thing there is yet.

"I think we're on the right path, I just think we need to stay the course and focus on attention to detail," Ryan added. "I believe that we're going to get it done and I believe that [Geno's] going to be one of the main reasons we get it done and get it turned around."

New York Sports