Second-Year QB Keeps Pushing Forward As Experts And Insiders Cast Doubt

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One week he’s called the worst starting quarterback in the NFL; the next he’s talking Super Bowl.

If nothing else, Geno Smith wants everyone to believe he’s got the Jets’ best interests in mind.

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Smith stirred things up recently, telling the NFL Network he certainly sees the Jets making the playoffs in 2014 — at a minimum.

“I feel good about our team making a Super Bowl run. … You know, why not us?” Smith said.

Now on one hand, what would you expect a starting NFL quarterback to say? The Jets have had problems at the position for the better part of the last 40 years, so to have not just Smith, but also newcomer Michael Vick mention the Jets and Super Bowl in the same sentence, as the veteran did back in the spring, it speaks potentially to a new kind of needed leadership at the position.

Smith has been under a lot of criticism since the second the Jets drafted him in the second round last year. He endured a rocky rookie season that saw him throw for more than 3,000 yards, but complete just 55.8 percent of his passes while tossing just 12 touchdowns to 21 interceptions.

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Smith got it together over the season’s final month, efficiently leading the Jets to three wins in their last four games and an overall 8-8 record, something nearly every media expert viewed as impossible heading into the season given the Jets’ apparent lack of talent on offense, most specifically at quarterback.

Though the Jets were pleased with Smith’s progress last season they didn’t take any chances once free agency opened, signing 11-year veteran Vick. And while many viewed the move as the Jets putting Smith’s feet to the fire, it appears they actually have wanted him to start all along and Vick is here more to mentor and step in should Smith prove to be unworthy of the job.

By all accounts Smith has had a very good offseason, earning praise from the coaching staff for his leadership, command of the offense and his execution during OTAs and minicamp. However, that didn’t stop Jets legend Joe Namath from taking a shot at Smith at around the same time ESPN was conducting a poll of NFL insiders that ranked him dead last among the 32 starting quarterbacks in the league.

To his credit, Smith seems unfazed by all of the non-believers and, armed with new wide receiver Eric Decker, rookie tight end Jace Amaro and veteran all-purpose back Chris Johnson, seems determined to try to shut a few folks up this fall.

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