Seahawks’ Geno Smith says it’s ‘business as usual’ ahead of Jets game
8:21 PM ET
RENTON, Wash. — Geno Smith will face the team that drafted him when the Seattle Seahawks host the New York Jets on Sunday at Lumen Field, but the Pro Bowl quarterback gave no impression that he considers it revenge. game.
More like a necessary profit.
Smith was asked during his weekly media session Thursday if there is anything extra in the game given his history with the Jets.
“Nothing to me,” Smith said. “I really feel the importance of it is we need a win so we can get into the playoffs. Obviously, there will be some speculation, some will talk about it. It comes with the territory. It’s to be expected. I have a lot of love for the Jets, the organization and a lot of people that are still there and were there when I was drafted. So for me and this team, it’s business as usual, another week to prepared and a tough challenge for us to go out there and try to get this win. We need it.”
Smith spoke fondly of his four seasons with the Jets, a rocky tenure that included a 12-18 record as the starter and an infamous locker room brawl that cost him his starting job. Smith, a second-round pick in 2013, was about to enter his third season in the summer of 2015 when teammate IK Enemkpali punched him, leaving him with a broken jaw. By the time Smith returned late in the season, Ryan Fitzpatrick was having a career year that would keep him in the starting role for most of the 2016 season.
Smith wouldn’t become the full-time starter again until he beat out Drew Lock this offseason in the race to replace Russell Wilson. He was asked how he didn’t get bitter considering how he lost his starting job in New York.
“I think it was a great time for me to grow up and become even more of a selfless individual,” he said. “Obviously, we have our goals and the way things happened wasn’t in my plans or what I thought would happen, but it happened, and so you take an approach that you can’t cry over spilled milk. a friend great teammate to the guys around me, not letting that stop me from helping them succeed in any way I can. That kind of became my career for a while, just being a great teammate and trying to help the guys get better and do whatever it took to help the team win out of the game.”
Fitzpatrick’s support gave Smith time to reflect, he said.
“It was the first time I hadn’t played or started since I was probably 10,” he said. “I played football for a long time, I started many seasons, and then, boom, something happens where now you have to sit. It was different, it was challenging, but it also taught me a lot and helped me grow. .”
Smith threw 25 touchdowns over his first two seasons while committing 41 combined turnovers, third most in the NFL in that span. But between his career day in the 2014 Finals and a strong performance in the 2015 preseason, Smith felt he was ready to make a leap before his broken jaw put a stop to those hopes.
“I felt really good about where I was and I thought I was taking the next step, and I’ve kept that thought process throughout my career,” he said. “You’re right, I was very excited. Obviously a scary accident, things happen and you don’t wish that on anyone. But it was an incredible moment for me to learn, but also to practice resilience and patience. It took A lot of patience. It took a lot of hard work to have an opportunity to race as a starter again after all those things that happened. I was grateful for all the things I went through, and I was definitely able to turn it around and make it a positive. “
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, perhaps trying to absorb some of the scrutiny that will be on Smith this week, brought up the unceremonious end to his tenure with the Jets when asked about any conversations he’s had with Smith about facing his former team. Carroll was fired after going 6-10 in his only season as the Jets coach in 1994.
“Really, we’re going as partners in crime because we were both there and it didn’t work out in the end,” Carroll said. “So we’re sharing the experience a little bit.”
The Seahawks have lost five of their last six games after a 6-3 start and now sit one game out of the NFC standings. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them a 27.4% chance of claiming one of the available wild card spots. They wouldn’t necessarily be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Jets, but they would need a few things to go their way besides a win over the Rams in Week 18.
Smith ranks fifth in Total QBR at 63.4, nearly 20 points higher than his mark over his first nine seasons. But his production has dipped recently, with just two touchdowns in the past two games and five interceptions in as many weeks. That stretch has coincided with a decline in Seattle’s run game.
Asked about his assessment of Smith’s play in recent weeks, Carroll said the signal caller could be “cleaner” with some of his mechanics.
“We can get a little bit cleaner on things and it’s really just technical things that I think can make a difference,” he said. “You’re always going to hear me say that we have to play better around him to help him in every way. But he knows he can clean some things up. We’re really, really strict about it and he’s with real in that regard. Just trying to make sure he gives everything his best chance to perform at a really high level. It’s just been a few plays here and there, little things with legs and things like we’re talking about. It’s really small stuff, but it can still have an impact.”
Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March with his one-year, $3.5 million contract expiring. He also has an additional $3.5 million available in incentives and will likely earn all of that if Seattle makes the playoffs.
Smith was asked if he has thought about his future beyond this season.
“My future is going to be great,” he said. “I always think that … I’m always thinking positively on that note. But the future for me is right now, today, going out there having a great practice and getting ready for Sunday.”