Geno Smith might not be the Jets' starting quarterback in his injury related absence, but that will change at some point this season. Of that, Phil Simms has little doubt.
"I'd be very surprised if [Smith] doesn't get a shot somewhere this year to be their guy and to be the franchise quarterback they hope he can be," Simms said on Tuesday at a CBS preseason media event in New York City. "Look, that's what [the Jets] want. This whole year was about, let's find out if he's the man. They kowtowed to him. They did everything for him in the offseason. They got Brandon Marshall. There was the Geno bandwagon. They were all on it, trying to make him the guy.
"Why? Do you want to at the end of the year we got to go get a quarterback and start that charade? They don't want that," Simms said. "They hope he's the man. All the [Smith] bashers, I know everything they're saying. But you can't deny this. He has the height of an NFL quarterback, he has the athletic ability you want a guy to have. He has a good arm and at times, he's a dynamic thrower. Does that sound like any other quarterback over there right now? No."
In Smith's absence, the Jets are going with 32-year-old journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Simms thinks it's only a matter of time before Smith, who is still recovering from a broken jaw he suffered in a locker room altercation with linebacker I.K Enemkpali on Aug. 11, starts again.
"[Smith] is in his third year, different offense, one that maybe suits him better," Simms said. "He brings something to the team that the team needs. He brings speed and athleticism. Is he consistent? No, but it's early."
One area where Smith needs to improve, besides his game? The way he carries himself with his teammates.
"It's amazing. He gets punched and it's his fault? That's bad," Simms said. "I feel bad for him in that respect. But you have to understand the locker room. Understand your role and judge people. That's what you do as a quarterback. You've got to know how to navigate. It's like a politician. You've got to kiss babies and shake hands. You have to do those things. And no matter what you do, there are still going to be a group of players in that locker room who hate your [expletive]. But you know what? You know who they are. So you work your way around them. People are going to hate you just because you're the quarterback."