New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith says he expects to be the leader of the team no matter who the team brings in or potentially drafts to try replace to him.
Smith was only drafted by the Jets two years ago, and the Jets have the No. 6 pick in Thursday's NFL draft.
The team traded for veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason to give Smith some competition at the position. Jets head coach Todd Bowles has already said Smith will be the team’s starting quarterback going into training camp.
“You have to expect anything, but going out there I believe this is my team,” Smith said, according to the New York Daily News. “I go out there and I work hard and try to lead the guys the best way that I can. I’m not going to sit here and talk about it. I want to lead this team the right way and I want to continue to get better as a player.”
Smith has been criticized since he got to New York and is 11-18 in his two seasons as a starter for the Jets, including losing 10 of his 13 starts last season. He completed 59% of his passes for 2,525 yards with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2014.
The 24-year-old Smith did end last season on a solid note, compiling a perfect quarterback rating while throwing three touchdowns with no interceptions in a 37–24 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the team's season finale.
Last season, the Jets averaged only 17.7 points a game, had the league’s worst passing offense and were -11 in turnover differential.
Smith says he is concentrating on learning the offense under new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and ignoring the detractors.
“I don’t listen to the outside noise,” Smith said. “I don’t think it’s important at all. I don’t think it motivates me. I’m motivated by the fact that we need to win. Obviously, we need to build chemistry. I’m motivated by those things more than anything else.”
- Scooby Axson