Thursday, August 30, 2012
Jason Smith: 'I'm happy to be a Jet'
By James Walker
This week's trade between Wayne Hunter and Jason Smith was an interesting one. It involved two struggling offensive tackles who used up the patience of their respective teams.
But the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams both believe they assisted each other by swapping the embattled tackles. The Rams are getting a former starter that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhiemer is familiar with. The Jets get a former No. 2 overall pick who came into the league with some upside.
Hunter was not going to work out in New York, and St. Louis probably felt the same about Smith. At least these two teams tried something by changing the scenery.
"I would say a fresh start is good for a lot of people," Smith told New York reporters. "Obviously, at the end of day. ...I appreciate everything that the Rams did for me as far as allowing me to be a part of the organization. It’s kind of like everything else. It’s kind of like turning a new page of the chapter. I’m happy to be a Jet."
Smith is the first offensive tackle off the bench for the Jets. He no longer has the pressure of living up the No. 2 overall pick in St. Louis. He can be just another guy in New York for the first time in his career.
The Jets have their fingers crossed with new starting right tackle Austin Howard. He is perhaps the most important player in this equation. If Howard plays well and secures the right side this season, Smith can just focus on his limited plays per game. But if Howard struggles or gets injured in the regular season, Smith’s role could be too big to handle, based on his track record.