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No competition: Jets name Geno Smith the No. 1 QB

Geno Smith of the New York Jets talks

Geno Smith of the New York Jets talks to reporters in front of his locker after the team announced the firing of head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik at the team's practice facility in Florham Park, N.J., Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. Credit: AP / Rich Schultz

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - It's now officially Geno Smith's job to lose.

New offensive coordinator Chan Gailey laid to rest any speculation about Smith's standing on the depth chart Wednesday when he said the third-year signal-caller will be the starter until further notice.

"Right now, Geno's the starter," Gailey told reporters after Day 2 of organized team activities. "To me, coach [Todd] Bowles has said it, I say it, I think everybody said it: That's the way it sits and that's the way we expect it to be."

And that means, heading into training camp there won't be a quarterback competition between Smith and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Why not?

"Cause Geno's the starter," Gailey said matter-of-factly.

Despite the regime change at One Jets Drive, history appears to be repeating itself as it relates to the quarterback position: Under the guise of a quarterback competition between Smith and veteran Michael Vick in 2014, former general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan viewed Smith as the presumptive starter all along.

And now Fitzpatrick is in the same position as Vick was a year ago. In fact, Gailey said "it wasn't a thought" to have a quarterback competition because the coaching staff believes so strongly in Smith. Barring injury, Smith is their guy.

"Just like anybody else in the NFL, if you don't play well over a period of time, you could," the offensive coordinator said, when asked if there's any way Smith can lose his job aside from injury. "But not in preseason, not in practices." And the Jets are planning for Smith to be their starter in Week 1.

"Don't make me say, yes. But probably," Gailey said with a smile when asked if Smith is the anticipated starter vs. the Browns on Sept. 13.

"He's been here. He's done enough good quality things that he deserves the opportunity to be the guy," Gailey said of Smith.

With Idzik at the helm, the Jets selected Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft. Since then, the erratic quarterback is 11-18 as a starter. For the third straight year, the Jets' front office -- this time, Bowles and new GM Mike Maccagnan -- is handing the starting job to Smith.

Smith was named the Week 1 starter after former Jet Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Giants in Week 3 of the 2013 preseason. And last year, Vick made it clear to reporters that he and Smith were not engaged in an "open competition," as the front office portrayed.

Over the past two seasons, Smith has 25 touchdowns, 34 interceptions and a .575 completion percentage. He also has the second-lowest QBR (35.7) since 2010 (with a minimum of 30 games). Only Tim Tebow (33.4) is worse.

But as was the case with Vick last season, Fitzpatrick knows exactly where he stands -- as a backup.

"We told Fitz coming in that that's the way it's going to be," Gailey said. "We didn't try to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. That's exactly how we told him."

Gailey's comments came about an hour after Bowles tried to temper expectations about Smith and the team following their second OTA practice.

"He's done what everybody else has done -- he's played two-hand touch and he's done pretty good at it," Bowles said with a smile. "Again, we have a two-hand touch football team right now." But Gailey passed along enough praise for them both.

"He's done some good things. He's a very talented guy," Gailey said. "He's just like every other quarterback I've ever had. You have to acclimate to a new system and he's acclimating to a new system. He's very talented. I have high hopes for him.

" . . . I think you see an awful lot of talent there. If we can get him to where he puts all of that together, I don't know how good he can be. He can be pretty good if he can put it all together."


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