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Don’t Read Too Much into Chan Gailey’s Comments About Geno Smith

First-year New York Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said Wednesday at the team's practice facility that "it wasn't a thought" to hold a quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and incumbent Geno Smith.

First-year New York Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said Wednesday at the team’s practice facility that “it wasn’t a thought” to hold a quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and incumbent Geno Smith, via USA Today.

He went on to elaborate further when pressed for comment:

“We saw a lot of talent on film. We saw a lot of promise on film. We saw a lot of things that made us think he could eventually be a good quarterback. It’s hard to have a quarterback competition going into the regular season. Once we decided that (Smith) was the guy that we felt would be the best option at this point for us, that’s the direction we went in.”

Notice how he said Smith was the best quarterback “at this time?”

It’s Easy To Misread Chan Gailey’s Comments About Geno Smith

That’s a subtle wordplay that has gone unnoticed by many sites who are now declaring Geno Smith the Week 1 starter, including USA Today, the Washington Post, and The New York Daily News.

Granted, Smith is the best QB at this time but only because Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t practice fully until training camp due to a broken leg. After that, Fitzpatrick will return to being the better quarterback.

Fitzpatrick has had better statistics just about across the board, most notably in the turnover column. That statistic is particularly glaring since the Jets look to ride their defense to victory and win a bunch of 16-10 games. Turning the ball over, even just once per game, is not conducive to winning low-scoring football games.

He has also had moments of bearded magic, where he’s reminiscent of a cross between Brett Favre and Tony Romo, as he scrambles around, throwing bullets across the field (which is when the announcers will remind the viewing audience that he came from Harvard). Smith hasn’t shown these moments at all, as Smith’s best moments have come when he looks competent and doesn’t lose the game for his team.

To further stack the deck in his favor, Fitz-magic’s best moments came when he was a quarterback at Buffalo, under the tutelage of then-head coach Chan Gailey. He looked to be an up-and-coming franchise quarterback and was rewarded as such; in October of 2011, he signed a six-year/$59 million contract with a $10 million signing bonus. While Smith as the incumbent, Fitzpatrick has more relevant experience.

All this being said, the Jets would prefer Geno Smith to be the starting quarterback come the season opener. That would mean he proved himself to be a better quarterback than Fitzpatrick in preseason and training camp, a level Smith hasn’t shown he can reach.

He’s only 24 though and has mounds of untapped potential in his athletic frame, both as a runner and passer. The Bearded Wonder is 32 years old and has shown everything he’s going to show; there are no hidden tricks up his sleeve at this point because he would have played them already.

Due to his potential, Smith is going to be given every chance at beating at  Fitzpatrick in a competition. And so there’s no harm in pumping Smith’s confidence by talking good about him to the media.

But that’s all that those comments to the media were.

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