PHOENIX - As far as Todd Bowles is concerned, Geno Smith is his starting quarterback. For how long remains to be seen.
Bowles said Smith will enter training camp as No. 1, but the first-year coach made it sound as if a lot can change, depending on the circumstances. The Jets traded for Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is still rehabbing from a broken leg, and re-signed Matt Simms.
So it's Smith . . . until it's not.
"We have a plan in place and right now, Geno going in, with Ryan hurt and not able to participate in , Geno's going to take the majority of the reps," Bowles said Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings. "He finished off last year, and there's nobody else we have."
That's some endorsement, huh?
Bowles is leaving himself a lot of wiggle room as he figures out who will be under center when the Jets open the season. They are looking at quarterbacks Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon), either or neither of whom could be available with the sixth overall pick. So for now, it's Geno's team.
Again, for now.
"It's hard because you can't talk to him and you can't sit him down and see what he knows, what he doesn't know, his philosophy, how he thinks, how he sees things," Bowles said of Smith. "Yes, he had a good last game and he finished up well, but you see the mistakes. Whether it's Geno or any other quarterback, you don't want to turn the ball over."
That's been Smith's biggest problem in two years as the starter. He had 41 giveaways, including 34 interceptions, with 25 touchdown passes and an 11-18 record. He was benched midway through last season and replaced by Michael Vick, but started the final six games. In Week 17 at Miami, Smith had a perfect 158.3 rating.
Bowles said Smith would get the bulk of the first-team reps in training camp, while Fitzpatrick, who is expected to be healthy in time for camp, will be No. 2.
"Geno will start out taking them, but that doesn't mean that Ryan can't take his spot," Bowles said. "If Ryan's playing better and performing better, obviously, we have to cross that bridge when we get to it for him to take the position. Geno will take reps with the first team and Ryan's going to take reps with the second team. We'll let it play out in camp."
Bowles left open the possibility of drafting a quarterback, so stay tuned on Mariota or Winston. "We're still evaluating the quarterbacks in the draft," he said. "Not saying we won't add or will add a guy. But right now with Ryan being down and Matt [Simms] coming back, Geno, he's our guy right now."
On the other side of the ball, Bowles said he was delighted to pick up four defensive backs in free agency. The Jets signed Darrelle Revis away from the Patriots and added cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine and safety Marcus Gilchrist.
"With [Dee] Milliner and [Dexter] McDougle being hurt last year, you can't go into the year wondering what you're going to do," Bowles said. "So we tried to fix one area of things we needed in free agency, and we ended up getting guys that happened to be from here and came back here. We were lucky enough to get Skrine and Gilchrist to add to that mix, so we don't feel like [we're] really looking to draft a corner in the first round."
Having Revis will be huge.
"He has an impact everywhere he goes," Bowles said. "He's a good corner. He can play in any scheme. He's a zone or man guy. I think he doesn't get enough credit for his zone or his tackling or his awareness on the field. So whatever we decide to play back there, he's very capable of doing it."
Bowles left open the possibility of drafting an edge rusher to fit into his 3-4 scheme, although he said the Jets would take the best overall prospect at No. 6. Unless they agree to a trade.
"I'll trade with anybody that's going to give me a ton of first-round picks," he said.