FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The football world may have its doubts about quarterback Geno Smith, but Jets owner Woody Johnson remains a believer.
"I have a lot of confidence in Geno. I think Geno can be a franchise quarterback. I really do," Johnson said Thursday. "I see traits in him, and we all see traits in him that are extremely positive and room for a lot of optimism."
Smith, whom the Jets drafted 39th overall in 2013, committed 25 turnovers as a rookie and he now has eight in four games (including five interceptions). Those struggles have led to a 1-3 record for the Jets, and led to many fans starting to call for backup Michael Vick to replace him.
But Johnson sees no reason to stray from Smith.
"We're running a team and we're going to try to win every game," said the owner. "So we're going to deploy the resources that we see, week to week, are going to help us win. And sustain the winning, not just one or two plays. We're looking at it over the whole season and forward."
So has Johnson told head coach Rex Ryan about if and when it's appropriate to insert Vick?
"No, I don't get involved in that," he said. "That's really between Rex and that's the organization that's going to be looking at that."
Though Johnson called Smith's profanity laced outburst at a heckler Sunday "absolutely unacceptable," the owner said he doesn't think it's a sign Smith can't handle the pressure of playing in New York.
"I think he's a very young man," Johnson said. "If I look at myself at that age, I may have made the same thing, for sure. So, there's a lot on his shoulders, a lot of growing up, a lot of learning how to deal with certain issues. You know, a little practice. He's made the mistake now and I guarantee -- I don't guarantee -- I would be surprised if he ever did something like this again."