Geno makes debut, won't answer critics
May, 10, 2013
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Photo/Bill KostrounSecond-round pick Geno Smith made his much-anticipated Jets debut on Friday.FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After two weeks of intense scrutiny, QB Geno Smith made his Jets debut Friday in rookie minicamp, surviving his first practice without any major mistakes and claiming afterward that none of the criticism has affected him.
"Obviously, there's been a lot of talk in the media," the second-round pick told reporters after a two-hour session on the field. "But for me, it's just been being my normal, old self, handling my business the way I always have. ... I don't resent any of it. I don't pay attention to any of it."
Smith has come under fire from unnamed scouts and personnel types, many of them questioning his character and leadership skills. Smith brushed it off, claiming his only focus is to learn the playbook and compete for the starting job.
He has been told that embattled incumbent Mark Sanchez will receive "the majority of the reps" in training camp. But make no mistake, the Jets are trying to get Smith up to speed as quickly as possible, hoping he can mount a challenge.
"I know Mark is a competitor. I understand Mark wants to win the job," Smith said. "We all do. But at the same time, I'm going to learn from him and David [Garrard] and Greg [McElroy]."
On Day 1 of minicamp, Smith took most of the quarterback reps. The only other quarterback participating in the rookie camp is Matt Simms. Smith didn't commit any turnovers and didn't seem overwhelmed by the moment. He completed six of 10 passes in team drills, going 11-for-15 in 7-on-7 drills. He showed his arm strength and velocity, especially on short passes. A few long throws were off target, and he seemed hesitant when going from his first to second read, holding the ball too long on occasion.
Smith called it "a pretty decent" performance for his first practice.