New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson believes that fans who don't support quarterback Geno Smith being the team's starting quarterback are "quitters," he said Monday to Jane McManus of ESPN New York.
While Michael Vick started three games in November for the struggling Smith, the Jets (2-11) turned back to Smith for their last two games, both losses.
With the team facing increasing public criticism, Richardson said fans should be patient with Smith.
"They're quitters," Richardson said. "That's how I feel. You go all-in with a guy, why not give him his chance?"
"Even though he does decent, some people think he does horrible," Richardson said. "He's still the guy at the end of the day and I applaud him for that. The position he's in and the scrutiny he gets [is a lot]."
Smith started the Jets' first eight games, but the team won only one game -- the season opener vs. the Oakland Raiders. Vick took over as the starter in Week 9, starting three games and going 1-2. He was benched during the Week 12 loss to the Buffalo Bills in favor of Smith, who finished the game 10-of-12 for 89 yards after Vick went 7-of-19 for 76 yards and a touchdown.
For the season, Smith has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,778 yards, eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Jets travel to Tennessee to play the Titans (2-11) on Sunday.
- Jack Jorgensen