Perhaps the least-deserved vote of confidence this offseason came when Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said it wasn’t really a competition, and the starting quarterback job was Geno Smith’s to lose.
New head coach Todd Bowles moved quickly to cut that talk off in May, and on the eve of his first training camp, made it clear he wouldn’t hesitate to pull Smith if he doesn’t perform.
“If you feel that his position or any other position is hurting the team, as a head coach, it’s up to you to do something about it,” Bowles said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “It’s not a year-long thing for anybody. You earn your keep by the week. You earn your keep by the day. . . .
“If somebody is not doing their job, it’s up to me to rectify the situation.”
The Jets have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in reserve, and his experience with Gailey gives the Jets a baseline expectation for what their offense could be. Smith has the physical potential to offer somewhat more, which is why he’s going to have to be a disaster in training camp or the preseason to not have the job in the regular season. But Bowles insisted it wasn’t a season-long appointment.
“A bad two or three weeks is relative,” Bowles said. “Whether it’s mental, whether it’s confidence or whether it’s physical. … All those things have to be [considered] and be determined. If you see progress among the mistakes, that’s one thing. If you don’t see any progress and you see a spiraling for any position, then it’s your job to make a move. . . . I’m always fair. . . .
“It all depends on how he’s not performing, whether it’s the first game, second game, third game. Is it consecutive? Is it just a bad game? All those factors play into it. Again, it’s not just the quarterback. It’s every position on our team. . . . Everybody has to do their job. The quarterback is an important part of it, but he’s part of the team. And he’s treated like everybody else is treated.”
The Jets have enough talent on defense to compete now, as long as their quarterback position doesn’t hurt them. And if it does, it sounds like Bowles will make a change, regardless past investments there.