SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. -- With the Jets mandatory minicamp this week, quarterback Geno Smith already thinks he knows what to expect from the New York Jets offense this season, and that’s early returns on an investment he started making last year.
“I expect big things from us,” Smith said, citing acquisitions like running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker in addition to returning roster-mates. “And we all expect the same thing because we’re still growing we’re still competing with one another. But right now I can see us gelling really like a team that’s going places in the future.”
With camp starting Tuesday, Smith was at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School leading about 300 kids through drills in his first football camp, the Geno Smith Football ProCamp. Proceeds from a fundraiser are earmarked for Verizon’s HopeLine, to combat domestic violence.
“It s a Saturday we’ve got off and I could probably be doing a million things,” Smith said and smiled, “but it’s not about any of that. We’ve got a minicamp coming up and that’s all good. I’m very focused on that but today it’s about these kids and having fun with them.”
Smith -- or coach Smith to the kids -- said there was no comparing this year to last in terms of where he is in his development.
“There’s no comparison. Last year I was a rookie, I was learning -- I’m still learning but I was learning the offense. I know the offense now it’s about perfecting. There’s really no comparison it’s complete night and day.”
“I tried last year,” Smith said, “but I was just so engulfed in trying to learn the play book and get my steps down and trying to do the little things that it was kind of hard to develop that exact chemistry that we want now. And I can see it this year.”
Smith said he wasn’t concerned with the addition of veteran quarterback Michael Vick, who has a fan base from years in Philadelphia and Atlanta, as well as vocal detractors. Smith maintains the addition has been helpful.
“It’s not going to phase me no matter who’s brought in,” Smith said.
The two knew each other before the Jets acquired Vick during the offseason.
“We’ve always had positive conversations,” Smith said. “He’s a very positive guy, a 10-plus year veteran in this league. He’s a guy I’ve always looked to for advice. He’s given me that good honest competition. We’re competition with one another we’re trying to make each other better we’re trying to make our team better. And overall it’s been really fun to be with a guy that’s as humble as Mike.”
Smith was also asked, in the wake of comments from Calvin Pryor and Rex Ryan about the rivalry between the Jets and their AFC East rival, if he too hates the Patriots.
“I definitely feel however my head coach feels,” Smith said.
“I’ve always believed there’s no friends in football,” Smith said. “When you’re on the field, whoever that opposing team is, if there’s not wearing the same logo there’s some form of, I wouldn’t say hatred that’s a hard word to use, but you don’t like that team for obvious reasons.”