Geno Smith scolded for getting physical
December, 9, 2013
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesGeno Smith lowered his shoulder on Raiders DB Brandian Ross, much to his coaches' dismay.FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Geno Smith's teammates loved it. His coaches, not so much.
The New York Jets' rookie quarterback heard it from the coaching staff Monday for lowering his shoulder into the Oakland Raiders' Brandian Ross at the end of a long run in a 37-27 win Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Smith ran 32 yards to set up a Jets' fourth-quarter touchdown.
"Probably won't happen again," Smith said.
With the Jets ahead 30-20 early in the fourth quarter, Smith took off from the Jets' 48-yard line and shook a few defenders before getting to the left sideline. As Ross neared him around the 20, Smith went for the contact instead of just stepping out of bounds, lowering his right shoulder into the cornerback. Smith's hit ultimately didn't help the Jets as he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds before delivering the hit.
Keeping their quarterbacks healthy is a sensitive subject for the Jets as they have been criticized all season for playing returning starting quarterback Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, which ultimately resulted in Sanchez suffering a season-ending injury. Smith has started every game this season as a result.
"That's like, 'Really, kid?'" Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "I think the competitor in you loves seeing that competitive fight and that competitive fire. But no, you're a quarterback in the National Football League. It's tough enough to stay healthy anyway, let alone putting yourself in that kind of risk and it was unnecessary risk. He's got to learn that."
Smith agreed with his coach that it was unnecessary hit.
"I wanted to play hard and never back down," Smith said. "I don't think it was a smart thing to do, but in the moment it's what I did."
While the Jets want Smith to avoid those hits, they don't mind seeing him run free like he did Sunday. For the first game in quite some time, the Jets made it a priority to give Smith the chance to run, and he hurt Oakland with his feet. Smith ran five times for a career-high 50 yards, and tallied an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Jets did a nice job of using rollouts to give Smith the option to take off if needed, and he wasn't shy to tuck the ball and run. On his 32-yard run, the play wasn't developing before Smith decided to run for it.
"It's good for our offense. It moves the pocket. Helps our offensive line out with not giving the defensive ends and D-tackles a set target for where the quarterback will be," Smith said. "It just helps out, it gets us going as offense and it's also good to pick up completions and just get some time to get the ball out to the flat with Kellen [Winslow] or Jeff [Cumberland] or get to the ball with flat with Tommy [Bohanon]. Getting the ball to the edge and getting the ball to a playmaker helps us out."