On Wednesday the New York Jets announced that rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be starting the season opener Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 p.m. EST MetLife Stadium). The announcement caught no one by surprise as Mark Sanchez is unable to play due to a shoulder injury. As expected head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets front office said all the right things when asked about starting a rookie quarterback, but one has to wonder how the quarterback position will truly be handled.
Rex Ryan is coaching for his job this season and he will have to walk a fine line of remaining patient with an inexperienced signal caller while trying to win as many games as possible. The ideal situation for Rex would be for Geno Smith to efficiently run the offense without making crucial mistakes. But what if Geno starts to struggle? What if the rookie starts to lose his composure and confidence? Does Rex Ryan remove Smith from the game? Or does Ryan let the rookie fight through the growing pains of the NFL?
In the past Rex was willing to go down in flames with his young quarterback as Mark Sanchez was rarely removed from games (almost never) when he was really struggling . But this was when Ryan had job security and the team was living on the success of back-to-back AFC Championship game appearances. What about now with his job on the line? Will Rex have the same loyalty to his quarterback? And how much say does the Jets front office have in the quarterback decisions?
As of now there seems to be so many questions with very few answers. For Rex's sake I hope that Geno plays well. If Smith struggles, I think that Ryan will coach his way out of a job this season.