CORTLAND – It was only a matter of time before the question about Geno Smith’s conditioning came up on Wednesday. And Rex Ryan -- seemingly confused or completely taken back by the question -- could only offer a blank stare in response.
After making his only appearance in Cortland on Sunday, the NFL Network's Brian Baldinger said on air that Smith's conditioning was "embarrassing" in comparison to the Jets' other quarterbacks -- a claim that caught Ryan off-guard.
"I haven’t seen that in him,” the Jets coach said. “He seems fine to me. He looked good when he ran for 80 yards that one play. He looked pretty good.”
As for Smith, his reaction to the conditioning criticism was simple.
“I have none,” the rookie quarterback said. “That’s his opinion. You know my coaches are the ones who evaluate me so I haven’t heard that from them so I don’t have anything to say about that.”
Asked if he thinks he’s out of shape, Smith said: “No, I’m right there. I’m pretty good with it.”
While the rookie continues to impress on the football field, Ryan reiterated Wednesday that he’s still a tad concerned about the rookie’s tendency to hold on to the football too long.
“He’s got to get rid of it,” Ryan said. “If I could point to a negative, it might be we’re going to take some hits. But along those lines, he has confidence, he’s got poise and he’s hanging in there and then he’s very accurate with the football so he has been impressive.”
So will Smith’s strong arm automatically propel him over Sanchez?
No, said Ryan. But his rave reviews of the rookie made it clear there’s a definite difference in the zip of Smith’s passes vs. Sanchez.
“I think everybody gets enamored with a guy that can throw a 96-mile per hour fastball. There’s no question about it,” Ryan said. “But Mark certainly has a good enough arm to play in this league. He’s done it and so certainly he has a good enough arm. Geno, it does pop off like, ‘Wow, he can really throw it.'"
The coach was quick to point out that Smith’s arm doesn’t compare to Jay Cutler or Matthew Stafford, but, he added: “[Smith] can throw with probably anybody in the league.”