NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Geno Smith is getting another shot as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback.
In a surprising twist, the team announced Wednesday that Smith, who had been benched in favor of Michael Vick the last three games, will be under center against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.
Coach Rex Ryan met with both quarterbacks in the morning, according to the team, and informed them of the decision. It was initially believed Ryan was leaning toward Vick, but the Jets (2-9) might want to get one more look at Smith to make an evaluation on the quarterback heading into the offseason.
Smith, in his second season, last started on Oct. 26 in a 43-23 loss to Buffalo in which he threw interceptions on three consecutive possessions and was benched. Vick provided a spark to the offense in his first two starts, but struggled against the Bills on Monday night before being replaced by Smith in the 38-3 loss at Detroit’s Ford Field.
Smith has thrown for 1,459 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions while putting his future as a starter with the franchise in doubt. He was drafted in the second round out of West Virginia in last year’s draft and started every game as a rookie after Mark Sanchez went down with a shoulder injury in the preseason.
Smith had an up-and-down rookie season, but finished with a strong final month during which the Jets won three of their last four games to finish 8-8 and save Ryan’s job.
The Jets signed Vick in the offseason to a one-year deal to give them an experienced backup, something they lacked last season, who could also serve as a mentor to Smith while also pushing him in training camp. Smith got off to another rocky start by turning the ball over at least once in each of the first six games.
He had a solid, turnover-free performance in a 27-25 loss to New England, but followed it up with the dreadful game against Buffalo a month ago.
The 34-year-old Vick threw for 404 yards and three TDs and an interception in his three starts. Ryan said Tuesday that Vick got “beat up a little bit” in the loss to the Bills, but that likely wouldn’t play a role in the decision.
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