FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Jets fans may be ready to run Geno Smith out of town, but the second-year quarterback doesn't plan on going anywhere.
In fact, the 24-year-old envisions himself being the Jets' starter for years to come.
"I see myself being the quarterback here for a long time," Smith said Wednesday. "I see myself helping this team turn things around. Obviously, I'm a part of the reason why we're in this position, so I'd love to be a part of the solution."
Despite their high expectations fo the 2014 season, the Jets are 3-12 heading into Sunday's season finale in Miami. And Smith is a big reason why the team has struggled. He's thrown 10 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions this season and has 40 turnovers (34 interceptions, six lost fumbles) in 29 career games. His overall quarterback rating is 68.4.
The Jets front office -- whoever that may entail -- will be hard-pressed to find an answer at the quarterback position next year, either via the draft of free agency. Nevertheless, Smith is confident he will only improve in Year 3. And his coaches believe he has the potential to succeed.
"I think he certainly has a chance," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "There are some guys that don't even play for a couple or several years, even. So, he's got an awful lot of experience banked. I think he's got a real chance and an opportunity to become a good quarterback. But that's going to be up to him.
"He's young, talented, bright and works hard with his preparation. So, he's got an awful lot of really good qualities. Nobody's got the crystal ball, but usually when you work hard and prepare and you're talented, good things start happening at some point."
The Jets assumed "good things" were on the horizon after Smith and the Jets closed out last year winning three of their final four games. But Smith's regression is evident in his decision-making and his propensity for staring down receivers.
Even his backup, Michael Vick, gave a noticeably lukewarm assessment of Smith's future in the NFL. Asked on Tuesdday how he would evaluate the young quarterback, if asked by management, Vick said: "I wouldn't know. Honestly, I wouldn't know. Hopefully, whoever is doing the evaluations can see what they need to see. . . .There's some room for improvement. There is with all of us in this locker room."
Vick, a staunch supporter of Smith's earlier in the season, did note that Smith has "a lot of potential to be a great quarterback in this league. For some guys, it takes more time. There's a lot of different moving parts that goes along with a quarterback being successful."
Smith said he's focused on being more consistent with the football. He's also confident the Jets aren't far off from being a good team.
"I know that it takes hard work and not everyone is going to see the same things, but within this locker room, within this group of guys, we all see the potential we have as a team," said the quarterback, who will return home to Miami Sunday when the Jets face the Dolphins. "Obviously, that's not saying much with the record that we have right now, but we believe that if we work hard enough and we do what's right, we can turn things around."
Smith also clarified his comments on Rex Ryan's future with the franchise. During a Monday conference call, the quarterback was asked about adjusting to a head-coaching change, which he experienced in college at West Virginia. In his response, Smith said: "To reset and readjust is a tough thing to do, but we are professionals and we have to do it. A change can be good for us all, so it if happens, when it happens, then we will see."
On Wednesday, however, Smith said his comments were misconstrued. "Everyone knows how I feel about Coach Ryan and how this team feels about him. We love him and we enjoy playing for him and we play hard for him. ...(My statement) got misunderstood in a way. But I understand those things happen and I've got to be more careful with the word choice."