When the Jets started camp ahead of the 2015 season, the expectation was that Geno Smith would be their starting quarterback.
That expectation ceased to exist when IK Enemkpali punched Smith and broke his jaw during a locker room altercation that reportedly stemmed from a dispute over money Enemkpali felt Smith owed him. Smith missed several weeks and Ryan Fitzpatrick was successful enough that Smith’s only appearance of the season came when Fitzpatrick injured his left thumb early in a loss to the Raiders.
Owner Woody Johnson said he agreed with the way coach Todd Bowles handled everything involved with the incident and that he didn’t question Smith’s maturity, but that the quarterback had to “think about the way you comport yourself” because quarterbacks are team leaders. He added that “the coaches are pretty optimistic about what he’s learned, his maturity” after a season that went opposite of the way Smith planned and didn’t rule out the possibility Smith could still be more than a backup at some point in the future.
“That’s up to the eye of the beholder, but he has all the skills,” Johnson said, via NJ.com. “It’s a question of what his desire is, and from what the coaches told me and what I’ve seen myself, I think he’s matured a lot. He knows he’s a professional. He has the ability to do it, if he sticks with it.”
Re-signing Fitzpatrick is a top priority for the Jets this offseason. Should they accomplish that and add another quarterback in the draft or free agency to go with Smith and Bryce Petty, Smith may have to show someone else that he’s sticking with it come next season.