Unfortunately for them, this isn't a case of out of sight, out of mind, because Holmes is very much on their mind as they prepare for the Chicago Bears. Even though he's a diminished player, he poses a threat to the Jets because he's a wide receiver, and any wide receiver with two healthy hands and sub-5.0 speed in the 40 has to be classified as dangerous against their porous secondary.
It's the Jets' worst nighmare, Holmes turning "Monday Night Football" into his personal stage, scoring a big touchdown and doing that silly jet-plane celebration. It's not a far-fetched scenario. For all his shortcomings, he's always been a big-moment player. He has a Super Bowl MVP trophy to prove it.
Imagine the fallout if the Jets go from The Timeout to Tone Time in one week. Actually, you don't want to imagine that.
Rex Ryan, not wanting to give Holmes any motivational fuel for his homecoming, gave his former player a glowing endorsement Wednesday during a conference call with the Chicago media. He portrayed Holmes as a cross between a Boy Scout, an altar boy and Jerry Rice, insisiting it's "totally untrue" that the petulant receiver was a divisive influence in the locker room during his five seasons with the Jets.
I believe Ryan when he says he genuinely likes Holmes, but Ryan also knows that Holmes, whose mouth sometimes was like the bull in the china shop, was the root of the locker-room turmoil that made the Jets a national punchline in 2011.
Who could forget the end of the 2011 season, when Holmes clashed with teammates and was thrown out of the huddle with two minutes remaining in the final game of the season? At the time, one member of the organization described him as "a pain in the ass." They probably would've cut him if they didn't owe him so much guaranteed money, the result of a five-year, $45 million contract extension before the '11 season. He still counts on their salary cap, $2.5 million.
Holmes is the reason why the Jets no longer have captains. Ryan appointed Holmes a captain in 2011, certainly not one of the coach's most inspired decisions. The power went to his head, and his mouth, as he publicly criticized the offensive line after a particularly tough loss. When the season ended, Ryan announced, "No more captains."
Reminded of that sorry chapter, Ryan claimed the decision wasn't based on the misbehaving Holmes. Pressed, Ryan finally acknowledged, "It might not have been a great selection," meaning his choice to put a "C' on Holmes' chest. He also admitted that Holmes threw teammates "under the bus" for his critique of the offensive line, but Ryan doesn't think Holmes meant it to come out as criticism. He called him a good teammate, a "dude who won a lot of games for us."
They don't want him to win Monday night in MetLife. Obviously, the Jets are focused on Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler's favorite targets, but they can't forget about Holmes. His surgically repaired foot is healthy and, despite only four catches for 41 yards, he looks like the Holmes of old, according to the Jets' defensive players. He played 73 percent of the offensive snaps in last week's win over the San Francisco 49ers, so you know he'll be out there a lot.
Not surprisingly, Holmes declined a request this week to speak with the New York media via conference call. As much as he disliked the New York media, he occasionally created headlines with foot-in-mouth remarks. There was the time last December when he said the Carolina Panthers' secondary was "the weakest link" on their defense, infuriating the defensive backs, who played career games in a win over the Jets.
Hey, maybe Holmes will incite the Jets by insulting their secondary. Said one player: "I don't think anyone would mind that."
“Well, it’s one day, my mentality is to take it one day at a time,” Decker said. I would love to play, so [I] am just making sure that we take the right steps. Don’t do too much, but do enough to feel it out and make a decision once that day rolls around.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan addressed Decker and Dee Milliner, who had a high ankle sprain but played in Sunday’s loss in Green Bay.
“Both of those guys we will see how they progress,” Ryan said. “They were not practicing today, but we will see how they do. We’re confident that they will be ready. We know that they are going to work to get out there. I’m confident, we’ll see how it goes during the week, but I should say I guess I’m hopeful that they will play.”
Decker said that he didn’t have an MRI on the hamstring and that he doesn’t think there is a tear or any new or more concerning injury. This is likely a continuation of the training camp issue and he said he just needs to be careful with it.
“I can’t give you a timeline,” Decker said. “I can just tell you that right now, every day I am going to try and do a little bit more and see how it feels, and keep at it, whether it’s a strengthening program, or a stretching program, whatever they have for me, and we are going to be smart with it. But, I want to get out as soon as I can for my teammates, so I am going to obviously make a smart choice, but try to get out there.”
“[The trainers] seem to be feeling pretty confident that these guys can get better,” Ryan said. “They’re already since they left on Sunday.”
Milliner didn’t play as well as the team expected. The second year cornerback played for the first time since he sustained the high ankle sprain Aug. 10.
“I have been doing good,” Milliner said. “Like I said, I am still doing my rehab, progressing day in and day out.”
Does Ryan think he brought Milliner back into a game too quickly?
“I don’t feel that way,” Ryan said. “I thought he started the game well. Obviously at the end of the game he didn’t play as well as he’s capable of, but no, I don’t think so.”
"It's been brought up, I'll leave it at that -- not in a dysfunctional manner, though," Nelson said. "It was brought up to identify that we want to get more guys involved. I'm not singling myself out. It's not me complaining about not getting the ball. It was just, as an offense, we're identifying we want to get the ball to more guys. Hopefully, we can do that, moving forward.
"A lot of it has to do with us trying to find out identity, trying to fit the pieces," he added. "In the preseason, you're trying to see what guys can do. With Eric and Jace (Amaro), there are a lot of new additions. The coaches want to see what the flow is and what guys can do. I think you'll start to see it be more fluid."
Nelson said he has talked with Mornhinweg and quarterback Geno Smith.
"We're having healthy conversations," he said. "There's no panic, there's no frustration. It's just that guys are competitors. They want the ball, they want to show what they can do. At the end of the day, it's about winning."
After two games, Decker (nine catches) and Kerley (eight) are the leading receivers. Nelson, a starter, has only two receptions. Jeff Cumberland leads the tight ends with five; Amaro has only three catches. The Jets drafted Amaro in the second round, expecting him to upgrade the passing game. Just last week, Rex Ryan said Amaro was on the verge of becoming a "major" factor.
"His time will come," Smith said of Amaro. "He's got to stay patient within the offense, we all do. It's early. Everyone wants to make plays, everyone wants to be the guy who's sparking the offense, but we've got to depend on one another and continue to do that."
Decker is nursing a hamstring injury and his status for Monday night against the Chicago Bears is uncertain. Obviously, the dynamic would change if he doesn't play. Nelson and Kerley would be the every-down receivers, with Greg Salas playing in three-receiver packages.
But Sunday's loss in Green Bay, that was different.
"It took me [until] today's practice," the New York Jets' quarterback said Wednesday. "I was pissed off for about two days, so today's practice allowed me to flush it out of my system and just get back to playing football."
Smith acknowledged it was out of character for him to dwell on a bad loss. It was a bad one, all right. There was the 18-point lead that vanished ... the cold spell on offense ... and, of course, the timeout fiasco. The Jets lost a heartbreaker, 31-24, at Lambeau Field.
"That one just stuck around with me for a bit," Smith said.
Asked what made it tough to swallow, he said, "We lost it. Anytime you lose -- I hate losing and that's really what happened. I'm pretty upset about it."
Decker, expected to sit out the entire practice, stretched with the team and spent the rest of the early portion in the rehab area, working with trainers. He did some agility drills and light running, but nothing extreme.
His availability will be one of the key storylines for the run-up to Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears. The Jets have yet to comment on his status for the game. Decker, who signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract as a free agent, leads the Jets with nine receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. He first hurt his right hamstring in training camp.
Cornerback Dee Milliner, still recovering from a high-ankle sprain, also remained on the sideline during the media period. He, too, is expected to miss practice. Milliner made his 2014 debut against the Packers and played 40 snaps in a reserve role, but admitted after the game that he took himself out because his ankle injury was flaring up.
With an extra day to prepare for the Bears, the Jets used Wednesday as a "bonus" practice. Thursday will be the heaviest workload of the week.
"No, that is totally untrue," Ryan said in a conference call with the Chicago media. "That was one of the biggest ... that's a joke. He wasn't that way at all."
Holmes spent four seasons with the Jets (2010-13) before signing in August with the Chicago Bears as a replacement for Marquess Wilson, who suffered a fractured clavicle during training camp. With the Jets, Holmes caught 146 passes for 2,168 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he came under fire toward the latter portion of his tenure after signing a five-year contract coming out of the NFL lockout in 2011 worth $45 million.
One New York Daily News report, citing anonymous sources back in January 2012, quoted a player saying Holmes is "a cancer. It's like dealing with a 10-year-old."
The New York Jets (1-1) return home to face the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football," an interesting matchup between teams that experienced very different Sundays. A few hours after the Jets lost to the Green Bay Packers by blowing a 21-3 lead, the Bears rallied from a 17-0 deficit to stun the San Francisco 49ers on the road, 28-20. It was the Bears' largest come-from-behind win since 2006, when they beat the Arizona Cardinals and Dennis Green delivered his infamous "They-are-who-we-thought-they-were" rant.
A closer look at the Bears:
Head coach: Marc Trestman (9-9)
Offensive coordinator: Aaron Kromer
Defensive coordinator: Mel Tucker
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, OFFENSE
Santonio Holmes, wide receiver: He was one of the most polarizing players in Jets history, a clutch player who turned into a headache after scoring a huge contract extension. It'll be interesting to gauge the crowd reaction at MetLife Stadium. Holmes provided many memorable moments from 2010 to 2014, but his production declined as the injuries piled up. The Jets finally rid themselves of him last offseason, probably forming a Conga line in the hallways of One Jets Drive to celebrate his departure. (By the way, he still counts $2.5 million on their cap, more than any receiver not named Eric Decker.) Holmes was unemployed until Aug. 16, when he signed a one-year deal with the Bears. Their base offense includes three receivers, so he's basically a starter. In fact, he played 73 percent of the snaps against the 49ers. He has only four catches for 41 yards, but he has a flair for the dramatic and would like nothing more than to burn his old team on a prime-time stage.
Jay Cutler, quarterback: He's always been known as a diva, but Cutler showed a lot of heart in San Francisco. Late in the second quarter, he took a vicious helmet to the chest by Quinton Dial. Cutler shook it off and, without two starting offensive linemen and with no help from the running game, he rallied the Bears to a signature victory. He has one of the best arms in the league, capable of throwing a strawberry through a battleship, as Rex Ryan likes to say. In Trestman's offense, however, he's a dink and dunk passer. In fact, 19 of his 34 passes against the 49ers traveled 5 yards or less in the air, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He was 16-for-19 on those passes, including three of his four touchdown passes. He doesn't hold the ball as long as he used to, resulting in fewer sacks.
Brandon Marshall, wide receiver: Like Cutler, he delivered a gutty performance Sunday night. Playing on a sore right ankle -- he was a question mark until the pregame warm-ups -- Marshall played one of the best games of his career. He made three touchdown catches, including a one-handed grab while twisting and falling backward in the end zone. He's one of the top receivers in the sport. He played the entire game at less than 100 percent, lacking his usual explosiveness and appearing tentative on cuts. He's averaging only 9.2 yards per catch, in part, because he can't get deep. His partner, Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), also is hurting. Maybe the Jets' beleaguered cornerbacks are catching the Bears at the right time.
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, DEFENSE
Jared Allen, defensive end: Desperate to improve their front seven, the Bears signed Allen to a four-year, $32 million contract, including $15.5 million guaranteed. It's a lot of money for a 32-year-old pass-rusher, but like we said, the Bears were hurting up front. Interestingly, the Jets showed interest in Allen during free agency. So far, he hasn't done much at all. Playing right end in their 4-3 front, he has no sacks and only four tackles -- and we're talking about an every-down player. He played 93 percent of the defensive snaps against the 49ers. One thing you know you'll get from Allen is a honest day's work. He has one of the all-time great motors, one of the reasons why he has 128.5 career sacks.
Lance Briggs, linebacker: He's another playing on the downside. Briggs created a firestorm recently when he took a day off from practice to attend the opening of his new restaurant in California. The former Pro Bowl player sought permission from Trestman, and received it, but he admittedly didn't tell his coach why he needed the day off. It was the Monday before the opener and, six days later, Briggs & Co. allowed 193 rushing yards in a home loss to the Buffalo Bills. He fessed up to blowing a gap responsibility on a 47-yard run, sparking criticism from fans and media -- well deserved. Right now, the Bears' run defense stinks, yielding 5.4 yards per carry. They've struggled against the read-option, which could create chances for the Jets.
Kyle Fuller, cornerback: The Jets were linked to Fuller in pre-draft speculation, but he never made it to the 18th pick. The Bears snatched him with the 14th pick, and it looks like they hit a home run. The former Virginia Tech standout was one of the stars of the comeback, intercepting two Colin Kaepernick passes in the fourth quarter -- both of which set up touchdowns. In a sense, the torch was passed. Charles Tillman, one of the Bears' all-time greats, suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in the game -- perhaps career ending. Fuller was deemed the heir apparent to Tillman, but the grooming plan has been accelerated. Fuller plays like a veteran, an instinctive player with terrific ball skills.
Right now, the Jets are an undisciplined football team (18 penalties in two games), and that falls on the coach. Ryan isn't a taskmaster, we all know that. His players like his easygoing style and they play hard for him, but there has to be a happy medium. A team with middling talent can't overcome these type of unforced errors. It's unbecoming, and it's a recipe for a losing season.
Oops: Speaking of penalties, I'd like to throw a flag on myself. On Monday, I recognized rookie safety Calvin Pryor for not making any major mistakes in the game. Upon reviewing the tape, I noticed at least three significant errors -- plays in which he reacted late and took bad angles. That was the knock on him in the draft.
Basically, Pryor is playing out of position. He made his mark as a "box" safety for Louisville, highlighting his hard-hitting style, but he has been playing mostly away from the line of scrimmage with the Jets.
Jordy TD postscript: A funny thing (well, not funny) happened on Nelson's touchdown. The other cornerback, Darrin Walls, blitzed from Aaron Rodgers' backside and came within a split-second of hitting him before the throw. Ryan rarely blitzes his corners, but this was an unusual case because the Packers didn't have a receiver on Walls' side of the field. This is a game of split seconds, all right.
No sign of 'prevent': Ryan took some heat for getting conservative with his defensive calls on the Packers' 97-yard drive at the end of the half, but nothing could be further from the truth. He sent four or more rushers on nine of the 10 pass plays, including a seven-man rush (a 14-yard completion) and a six-man rush (Randall Cobb's 6-yard touchdown catch). Cobb beat nickelback Kyle Wilson, who was on an island with no safety help. Jason Babin's roughing-the-passer penalty was huge.
Discount triple-check: Rodgers took a lot of grief for avoiding Seattle Seahawks All-Pro corner Richard Sherman in the season opener, not throwing at all in his direction. Against the Jets, Rodgers spread the ball evenly, picking on all three corners. An unofficial breakdown on how they fared:
Milliner -- Seven targets/five completions, 136 yards, one touchdown.
Allen -- Nine targets/four completions, 58 yards (plus a 27-yard penalty for pass interference).
Walls -- Seven targets/four completions, 49 yards.
Smith took the blame on the interception, saying he should've thrown it a split second sooner, but I don't fault him for that. Left guard Brian Winters missed his block, giving Smith no time to step into the throw. Also, Zach Sudfeld could've done a better job of playing the ball. In that situation, with the ball hanging in the air, the receiver has to become like a defensive back and try to knock it down.
Winters chill: Winters had a tough game. Aside from the missed block on the interception, he allowed a sack and missed a block that resulted in a 6-yard loss on a run by Chris Johnson.
Odds and ends: How did the Jets blow an 18-point lead? Well, they got away from the running game. While building the 21-3 lead, they called 18 running plays and 10 pass plays. From that point on, it was 16 rushes and 26 passes. Yes, the Packers did a surprisingly good job of defending the run, but I think Marty Mornhinweg got caught up in the Packers' quick, pitch-and-catch style, trying to keep pace with Rodgers. Mornhinweg said he didn't trust Smith on the ill-fated timeout, but he sure trusted him to throw a lot in the second half. ... When linebacker Quinton Coples lined up wide on one play to jam Nelson at the line, the Packers responded by calling a run against the Jets' light box. Smart cookie, that Rodgers. ... Coples (one sack, four QB hits) had one of his better games, exploiting fill-in right tackle Derek Sherrod.
Here's a nearly second-by-second breakdown of what went wrong (and why) on the fourth-and-4 play from the Green Bay Packers' 36-yard line with a little more than five minutes to play, which resulted in the touchdown that wasn't:
5:12 (11 seconds): Following Smith's command, Powell moves to the quarterback's left.
5:10 (9 seconds): A cat-and-mouse game develops. Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett, seeing Powell's shift, walks up to the line of scrimmage and positions himself outside right tackle Breno Giacomini. Burnett is in blitz position, staring at an empty backfield on that side of the formation. The Packers have seven at the line of scrimmage, showing heavy blitz. Mornhinweg recognizes the situation and starts walking toward Ryan while trying to speak to him on the headset. Ryan can't hear him because he's on the defensive channel.
5:08 (7 seconds): Unable to speak to Ryan, Mornhinweg tries to get Ryan's attention by gesturing for a timeout, frantically. He makes the "timeout" gesture no fewer than nine times. Line judge Byron Boston briefly turns his head to his left, noticing Mornhinweg's antics. Boston ignores Mornhinweg, fully aware of the rule that only a head coach can call a timeout from the sideline, with one exception: The line judge, instructed not to turn his back to the field when the snap is imminent, can award a timeout if he believes the command comes from the head coach.
5:07 (6 seconds): Smith sees the shift in the Packers' defense and calmly points to Powell, instructing him to shift again. And so Powell does, flipping back to the right side of the quarterback.
5:06 (5 seconds): Mornhinweg, managing to keep his eyes on the field as he's gesturing, notices Smith has corrected the formation issue. Immediately, Mornhinweg changes his mind, motioning to call off the timeout. He extends both arms like a baseball umpire on a "safe" play. Ryan, standing six yards away from Mornhinweg at the Packers' 37, apparently sees none of this. His eyes are focused on the field. Simultaneously, Richardson -- only one yard to Ryan's right -- steps forward toward Boston.
5:05 (4 seconds): Richardson, only a few inches from Boston's right ear, leans in and calls the timeout.
5:04 (3 seconds): The ball is snapped, a split-second before Boston blows his whistle and raises his arms to kill the play. A frame-by-frame review shows the shotgun snap is halfway to Smith when the play is blown dead. Technically, the play should've counted -- a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley. As it turns out, it's only a four-man rush by the Packers. Powell runs a pass route to the right sideline, drawing Burnett in coverage. What will never be known, however, is whether the Packers slacked off, knowing the play didn't count. Judging by the reaction, some players -- including safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the end zone -- knew there was no play.
"You know what? It really doesn’t matter now," Ryan said Monday.
THE BLAME GAME
1. Richardson -- To his credit, he stepped up after the game, taking full responsibility. Obviously, he meant well, but he has to know that players play and coaches coach. The rule book states that only the head coach can call a timeout from the sideline.
2. Mornhinweg -- He panicked with nine seconds left on the play clock. He should've trusted Smith to get it fixed on the field, which he acknowledged Monday.
3. Ryan -- He's the head coach, so the buck stops with him. If there's a communication breakdown on the sideline, the ultimate blame falls on the head coach. Judging from the replay, Ryan had no idea who called the timeout. After the game, he provided no clarity. It was reminiscent of the Santonio Holmes debacle in the final game of the 2012 season, when Ryan admitted he didn't know what was going on.
4. The Jets -- By not making Mornhinweg available after the game, the team hung Richardson out to dry for 24 hours, letting him absorb the heat. That's bad form.
OFFENSE (71 snaps)
Quarterback -- Geno Smith 71, Michael Vick 2.
Running back -- Chris Ivory 27, Chris Johnson 27, Bilal Powell 17, Tommy Bohanon 13, Sheldon Richardson 1.
Wide receiver -- David Nelson 61, Jeremy Kerley 45, Eric Decker 44, Greg Salas 21.
Tight end -- Jeff Cumberland 67, Jace Amaro 22, Zach Sudfeld 7.
Offensive line -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson 71, Brian Winters 67, Nick Mangold 71, Willie Colon 71, Breno Giacomini 71, Oday Aboushi 4.
Offensive analysis: The Jets stayed with their "11" personnel for most of the game, meaning 1 RB/1TE/3 WR. Presumably, the objective was to spread the field and run against the Packers' nickel personnel. It worked for a quarter. ... Decker (hamstring) sat for most of the fourth quarter, which explains Salas' increased workload. ... Amazing stat on Johnson: In the first six years of his career, he played less than 50 pecent of the snaps in only two games. It already has happened twice this year. ... Surprised they didn't use Amaro more often; it would've been a good matchup against the Packers' so-so safeties. ... Aboushi played! He played! He saw the first game action of his career, replacing Winter (dislocated pinky) temporarily. ... Richardson got one snap as a fullback in a goal-line play. ... For those keeping score at home, Vick has played five snaps in two games. Result of those plays: A minus-10 net.
DEFENSE (71 snaps)
Line -- Richardson 57, Muhammad Wilkerson 52, Damon Harrison 36, Leger Douzable 34, Kenrick Ellis 10.
Linebacker -- Demario Davis 71, David Harris 71, Calvin Pace 65, Quinton Coples 50, Jason Babin 21, Trevor Reilly 5.
Secondary -- Dawan Landry 71, Calvin Pryor 67, Antonio Allen 57, Darrin Walls 44, Dee Milliner 40, Kyle Wilson 23, Jaiquawn Jarrett 5, Ellis Lanskter 1.
Defensive analysis: The Jets played base personnel against the Packers' three-receiver package in certain situations, which explains Wilson's low snap count and Harrison's higher-than-usual number. Wilson is the nickel back, Harrison doesn't play in the nickel. ... Allen, Walls and Milliner formed a rotation at cornerback. Rex Ryan wanted to keep them fresh because the Packers are known for running a high volume of plays. ... Wilkerson missed the final 21 minutes of the game because of his ejection. It meant a lot of work for Douzable; the 34 snaps represented his high as a Jet.
Smith played pretty darn well in the New York Jets' Sunday night loss against the Green Bay Packers, completing 16 of his 32 passes for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran seven times for 26 yards and a score.
But then there was that whole timeout fiasco, which certainly put a damper on both his and his team’s performance.
Marty Mornhinweg and Sheldon Richardson have both accepted blame.
But was Smith also a culprit in this whole thing? Bilal Powell eventually ended up on the right side of his quarterback in the shotgun formation. But did Powell start in the wrong spot or did Smith put him there? Those questions are still left unanswered.
What did eventually happen is that Powell got in the right place, and Smith certainly looked calm during an extremely high-pressure situation. Then he executed the play to perfection.
“It didn’t count,” Smith said Monday. “That’s all I can say about that.”
Through the first two weeks of the season, the 23-year-old has completed 65 percent of his passes.
It certainly looks as though he’s made some strides from his rookie campaign.
Still, there is work to be done.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, on Smith’s first three drives he went 8-for-10 for 89 yards and a touchdown. But on his final nine drives, Smith went 8-for-22 for 87 yards and a pick. In the second half, the Jets ran 15 times for 37 yards after compiling 109 yards and 22 runs and a TD in the first half.
“We always want to be balanced,” Smith said. “We felt like we could’ve ran the ball a little better. As I said, execution could’ve been better, but we don’t want to talk about what we could’ve done. I think with the players that we were calling, we had good plays in and I just think we need to do a better job as players.”
Smith pointed out that he spread the ball out to nine different receivers. But his tight ends were targeted a combined four times.
“Every guy had his shot,” he said. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting the guys involved and we just have to do a better job overall.”
In the fourth quarter, the offense stalled with No. 1 wideout Eric Decker sidelined due to a hamstring injury. Could Smith be relying too much on the $36 million target? The two are certainly developing a nice rapport. Decker had four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
“We’ve got viable weapons,” Smith said. “We’ve got guys who can go out there and make plays. David Nelson made a clutch catch on fourth down. I think Jeremy Kerley did a phenomenal job stepping up when Decker went down and we’ve got Greg Salas who can step in and make plays for us as well. So, we’ve just got to do a better job at finishing games and we had an opportunity to go in on the road and win the game, but we didn’t.”
Smith’s final pass to Kerley fell incomplete in the end zone, leaving the Jets with a 31-24 loss.
“I was under duress and just put it up,” he said. “I could’ve done something better with the ball.”
The Jets held a 21-9 lead when Smith was picked off by Tramon Williams on a pass intended for Zach Sudfeld. Brian Winters got beat by Mike Daniels, who hit Smith as he threw.
The play changed the game. Its outcome may have been different had Smith’s game-tying TD counted.
“The defender was there, but Zach had room for me to get the pass to him. I took the hit. Like I said, I’ve got to get the ball out faster and feel that pressure and not do that in that situation because obviously, it turned the game for us,” Smith said.