NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Get ready for another quarterback competition.
Jets general manager John Idzik wouldn’t commit Tuesday to Geno Smith remaining New York’s starter during his season-ending press conference.
“We will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn’t change going into 2014,” Idzik said. “We’ll look at quarterbacks. Yes, we’ll look at quarterbacks.”
Whether Smith is the quarterback to take the Jets to that next level remains to be seen. But Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan said they were encouraged by his strong finish to his rookie season.
Smith had just 12 touchdowns and a whopping 21 interceptions and four lost fumbles. But in his last four games, Smith threw for 790 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with three victories.
“Just like with any offense, we want to score, obviously, but we also want to prevent points and you do that by taking care of the football,” Ryan said. “I thought Geno improved by leaps and bounds in this area as the season went on.”
Idzik called Smith a “very resilient young man,” but acknowledged that the team will explore their options throughout the roster — and that includes at the quarterback position. That could be through free agency, to bring in a proven veteran who could push Smith or even win the job. Or, perhaps in the draft.
“With that said, we’re very excited to have Geno Smith as a New York Jet,” Idzik said.
Former starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off shoulder surgery, has said he’d like to return to the Jets. But many believe the team will part ways with the former first-round pick this offseason.
“We’ll get to that in time,” said Idzik. “He is a Jet. We consider all our guys Jets until we make a decision or something happens that changes that. With Mark, I met with him yesterday as well. Our focus is to get him healthy just as it has been really the entire season and then we’ll take it from there.”
Idzik also said the team would consider upgrading the skill positions on offense, particularly at wide receiver and tight end, spots that were inconsistent and affected by injuries — and contributed to Smith’s struggles at times.
Idzik plans to meet with Ryan through this week to discuss his coaching staff, including the fates of several of the coach’s assistants who were in the final year of their contracts. That includes close friend and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.
“The thing I’ll say about this man is he wants to bring a winner here to the New York Jets,” Ryan said. “He has a burning desire to do that, and to bring a perennial winner here to where we win on a consistent basis.
“As a coach, that’s exactly what you want. That’s music to your ears.”
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