Former Jets QB Geno Smith wants to model himself after Eli Manning – New York Daily News


Professor Eli, meet Geno, the eager pupil.


That’s how ex-Jet quarterback Geno Smith explained his Monday signing with the Giants on a reported one-year, $2 million deal after passing a weekend physical: a “perfect scenario” with an opportunity to learn from “a Hall of Fame quarterback” in Eli Manning.


“I want to carry my notepad around and whatever I see Eli doing, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or off the field, I want to write it down,” Smith said in a Giants release. “Because he’s a guy you can model yourself after.”


Smith, 26, who is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee suffered last October, also called his signing “an opportunity to be on a real good team, a winning team, (and to) get healthy.” He sounds excited about the potential for stability playing in East Rutherford, and he said his knee is “doing great.”

Geno Smith, ex-Jets QB now a free agent, visited Giants


“We’re being cautious,” Smith said. “I’m at that stage where I’m feeling healthy enough that I can push it. But I have to be smart about it and not do anything that will cause me setbacks.”


Of course, Smith’s signing with the Giants, where he is competing for a backup job at best, no doubt indicates how low the Jets’ 2013 second-round pick’s stock has dropped. Especially coming off an injury, Smith was not going to find an NFL team willing to bring him in to start.


But clearly Smith is trying to turn this into a positive: If he can’t start, he’ll try and find a fresh start.


“Geno has a great, positive attitude,” GM Jerry Reese said in the Giants’ release. “And he’s looking forward to learning and competing in our QB room.”


The Giants now have veteran Josh Johnson, whom they re-signed Friday to a two-year deal, and Smith as the primary competition for the backup job behind Manning. Reese could draft a quarterback, too, since he admittedly is looking for Manning’s successor. And Keith Wenning, a 2014 Ravens sixth-round pick with no regular season experience, is on the practice squad.


The Giants’ best-case scenario is for Manning to play every snap, and that’s usually how this plays out: Manning has started 211 consecutive games, including both regular season and playoffs. Smith acknowledged the reality he likely won’t see the field.


“We expect that to continue,” Smith said of Manning’s durability. “I’m not coming aboard expecting anything else. This is definitely an opportunity for me to learn and to get better.”


So what this really seems to be about is a chance for Smith to rebuild himself physically and mentally in a new, encouraging environment with a recent history of success. Smith cited the opportunity to learn from Giants QBs coach Frank Cignetti, head coach Ben McAdoo and Manning as huge reasons for his decision.


“I think it will work out tremendously for me,” he said.


The question, though, will be if Smith can leave all of his drama and bad football from Florham Park behind and shed the image of being a failed 2013 second-round draft pick of the Jets.


Smith’s off-field behavior was far from exemplary in four seasons as a Jet: In January 2014, he was kicked off a plane at LAX for refusing to get off his cell phone. In fall 2014, he cursed out a fan after a home loss and then missed team meetings in San Diego, blaming the three-hour time change. Then in August 2015, Smith had his jaw broken by former teammate IK Enemkpali, who sucker-punched Smith in the locker room over a $600 debt.


Smith’s failure on the field, though, has had a much greater impact on the quiet market for his services in free agency: He has just a 12-18-0 career record as a starter, with a 57.9 career completion percentage (501-for-866, 5,962 yards), 28 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions.


His turnovers and decision-making are the key problem. He has rushed the ball 135 times for 647 yards (4.8 per carry) and seven TDs, while losing seven of 17 career fumbles. 


Smith made 29 of his 30 career starts for the Jets in his 2013 rookie season and in 2014, but in the past two seasons he has played in only three games and started just one.


Journeyman veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick claimed hold of the Jets QB job in 2015, and just when Smith finally got the chance to replace a struggling Fitzpatrick in Week 6 of last season, he started Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens and tore his ACL in the second quarter.


Smith has a strong arm. He is still young. Maybe what he needed most was to leave the Jets and Florham Park for a new environment. Is staying in New York the best way for this former West Virginia standout to resurrect his pro career? Only time will tell.


“I have tons of good football ahead,” Smith said. “The key is just staying healthy. If I can just stay healthy, the future is pretty bright. But I just look forward to this year and having an opportunity to get healthy and learn and become a better quarterback.” 

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geno smith
jerry reese
new york giants
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Former Jets QB Geno Smith wants to model himself after Eli Manning – New York Daily News

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