FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The tension is http://www.chargers.us.com/Dwight_Freeney_Jersey mounting in the New York Jets’ locker room.
The struggling offense held a players-only meeting Monday, one day after a home loss in which the crowd was chanting for Michael Vick to replace Geno Smith at quarterback.
The embattled Smith, whose turnovers are one of the main reasons for the Jets’ three-game losing streak, was one of a few players that spoke at the meeting.
“The meeting was for us to kind of vent to one another about some of the things we can do better, and some of the ways we can get better as an offense,” said Smith, adding that it was a “group decision” to call the meeting.
He bristled when it was suggested the session was designed to air grievances.
“No grievances,” Smith said. “I understand semantics are a huge thing in http://www.officialushockey.com/mario-lemieux-jersey this market, but there were no grievances. I don’t want you guys to get that misunderstood. No one is hanging their head around here and no one is sad. No one is down on themselves.”
But there is an escalating quarterback controversy. Publicly, Rex Ryan and players have remained supportive of Smith, but their patience could be wearing thin after two straight poor performances by the second-year quarterback.
Smith didn’t do himself any favors by cursing a heckler in the crowd after the 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, an F bomb that resulted in a torrent of criticism and almost certainly will result in a fine from the NFL. The amount for a first-time offender is $11,025.
On Monday, Ryan spoke to Smith about the incident, telling him it was “inappropriate.” The irony is that Ryan did the same thing in 2011, incurring a $75,000 fine for yelling a profanity at a fan.
“Unfortunately, I made the same mistake,” said Ryan, adding: “Obviously, it’s something I regretted when I did it, and I know Geno feels the same way.”
After two straight Andrei Markov Canadiens Jersey home losses, the Jets (1-3) hit the road to face the San Diego Chargers (3-1). It might be good for them to get away.
Despite mounting pressure to change quarterbacks, Ryan reiterated they’re sticking with Smith, who has thrown at least one interception in 16 of 20 career starts.
“(It’s) because I believe in him,” Ryan said. “I believe we’re going to get it done and I believe he’s going to be one of the main reasons we get it done.”
Ryan may not have the final say on a quarterback change, which would be unusual for a head coach.
Asked if it’s his decision, Ryan said, “To say who’s going to outright make that call or whatever, I’d rather not say those things, but it would be a team decision” – an answer that fuels the perception that general manager John Idzik is calling the shots.
No doubt, Smith’s penchant for turnovers (seven in four games) came up in the players-only meeting. The players also discussed eliminating penalties and improving red-zone efficiency, the obvious bugaboos.
Smith said he took http://www.chiefs.us.com/Derrick_Johnson_Jersey ownership of his mistakes, saying he told teammates “just how disappointed I was with myself for the turnovers we’ve had. I know how hard I’ve worked on straightening those things out. We’ve emphasized those things, but I’ve allowed some of those things [to] happen that I can’t let happen.”
Only a handful of Smith’s teammates appeared in the locker room during the media period, perhaps trying to avoid sensitive questions about their confidence level in Smith.
Vick, 34, is well-respected among his teammates even though he has played only six snaps in a situational role. Vick said he supports Smith.
The Jets face an extremely difficult three-game stretch. After the Chargers, they return home for the Denver Broncos and have a short week to prepare for the New England Patriots on the road.
Smith acknowledged the season has reached a crossroad.
“You can obviously go in the tank and say the season is done with, or you can do what we’re going to do — get back to practice Wednesday and pick ourselves up,” he said.