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GENO: ‘Rookie Wall’ Shouldn't Be a Problem

Posted Nov 13, 2013

Transcript of quarterback Geno Smith's news conference at his locker following our Wednesday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

On Santonio Holmes

Tone brings definitely a lot of energy to our offense, veteran leadership. He’s obviously a tremendous playmaker and can make plays out on the field. It’s just good to have him back. He’s a guy who definitely was a major part of this offense and we missed having over the span of time that he wasn’t here.

On Holmes improving and getting closer to playing over the last few weeks…

I’ve been kind of focused on everything going on that I haven’t had a chance to really focus on how he was doing. I’d ask him and he’d always say he’s doing fine and getting there. So, I trust him with that. When I saw him out on the practice field he looked fine, he’s moving well and it’s just good to have him back.

On his chemistry with Holmes…

It’s just got to continue to grow. I think we were at a point where, when he was active and playing, that we were building something and he obviously went down, so that hurt it a little bit. But, we’ve got to continue to practice and continue to grow.

On how much more diverse the offense can be with Holmes, Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland back…

It makes our offense, I think not only more diverse, but it gives us a chance to exploit some matchups. They’re getting guys back on their defense with [Jairus] Byrd and [Stephon] Gilmore. So, it’s definitely going to be another challenge for us. But, we can create matchups with having Kellen and Jeff and even Zach [Sudfeld] and then Tone, Stephen [Hill], all the guys that we are accustomed to having. They can make plays for us and it just gives us a better chance I think.

On what it means for Buffalo to get Byrd and Gilmore back…

Byrd is a ball-hawking safety, Pro Bowl-type safety. They play a ton of man, so having Gilmore back, their starting corner, obviously makes them a better defense, just as any other. And they’ve been pretty stout up front, so just having a chance to have those guys back gives them, I think, better guys in that secondary, which really helps their defense out because that’s the style that they play.

On if he’s thinking about what the team has to do to make the playoffs…

We’re just trying to take care of here and now. Quinton [Coples] just said it as he walked by, but that’s literally true. The only thing we’re focused on right now is winning this game and it starts with practice, so we take it one day at a time. That’s kind of always been our mantra, so we’ve just got to stick to it and not look ahead, at all.

On if it’s difficult for him to play in cold weather…

No. I’ve played in plenty of cold games and I don’t think that was really an issue. I don’t know who’s to say or if it is or it isn’t, but I don’t have a problem with it.

On if the fact that the team controls its own destiny to make the playoffs makes each game more important…

It’s always important. Every single win is important. Every single game is important. That’s the way we’ve got to look at it. We’ve just got to take care of our business one day at a time.

On if he knows why the team hasn’t been able to win two games in a row this season…

No. We just haven’t, and I think it’s time for us to start doing that. So, we’ve just got to, like I said, focus on what we’re accustomed to, which is working hard and getting better.

On Rex Ryan saying that the team was not sharp enough in practice today…

Yeah, it’s correct. We had, I would say, some mental errors. And we’re putting a few new things in, so that’s pretty much how a typical Wednesday practice goes. We weren’t as sharp as we usually are, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. We’ll clean it up tomorrow and then we’ll be ready for the game.

On what Ryan said to the team after practice…

Just that. We weren’t as sharp as we anticipated and it’s not anything to get too alarmed about. Just get back to practice tomorrow, clean things up and then prepare ourselves for the game.

On if he sees himself as the best rookie quarterback in his draft class…

I’m not really trying to compare myself to any of those guys. I just want to be the best player I can be right now. I’m just focusing on getting better. I think I have a tremendous skillset and I think I can be one of the better quarterbacks in this league, but it’s going to take time and effort.

On if he’s surprised that he’s the only rookie QB that’s had consistent playing time throughout the season…

I don’t know. I really haven’t focused on it. Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve kind of put all that stuff behind me and just tried to focus on myself and just helping this team out.

On why the team has called more designed run plays for him the last few games…

I think it’s been working for us. We’ve been running the ball well and we’ve been doing a pretty good job on the read plays as well and it’s picked up some good yardage for us. What we’ve done is try to stick to the things that we’re good at and that’s one of them. I’ve been given the opportunities to run and I fully expect to take those opportunities every single time, so I think that’s the reason for it.

On what kind of stress a mobile quarterback puts on a defense…

It’s another thing to look at, especially with our offense. Our offense isn’t one of those, I would say wildcat-style offense or wildcat based. To have that read-option in, those read plays, it definitely gives the defense something extra to look at, something extra to pay attention to and then we can still just go out there and run our normal offense and just be a pro-style offense. But, we do have wildcat dynamics in it, so I think it’s a really good mix up for the defense.

On if he likes running the football on designed run plays…

Of course. I’ve never said I was a pocket passer. I’m effective from the pocket, but I can run as well. That’s kind of the point I’ve been trying to push all along is that I’m not a quarterback that you can put in a box. I do it all and I try to perfect every single thing, even running the ball.

On how he’s feeling heading into the latter half of the season and what he’s doing to stay healthy…

Physically, I feel great and that’s always kind of been my thing. I really don’t get sore after games. I might have to knock on wood, but I’ve never really been sore after games. I’ve been playing football my entire life and I just go out there and practice hard and I play hard and I think that keeps me away from being injured.

On if he’s prepared for a rookie wall…

I mean, I think everyone’s different. If I feel I’m going to hit a rookie wall, I’m the type of guy that’s going to wake myself up and snap right out of it. So I don’t think that should be too much of a problem.

On if it amazes him to see quarterbacks that play every single game for 10 years…

Yes. Hopefully, I can do that same thing. I hate missing practice, hate missing games, I love to be out there every single chance I get.

On if it got under his skin when he was dealing with his ankle injury during training camp…

Well, I didn’t miss practice.

On if he came right back after injuring his ankle…

Yes.

On if looking back it was the right decision to practice after injuring his ankle…

It was smart.

On if it was smart because he hates missing practice so much…

Yeah, I just love to be out there. I love to practice and even if I’m not 100 percent, just getting those reps and even if it’s mental reps or physical reps, just getting those reps helps me out.

On how having Holmes back helps the other receivers…

It’ll give our receiving corps a better rotation. I think those guys were playing complete games and it’s really hard to do that. Especially, with the number of routes they’re running – having to go deep and then come back run another play. It’s something that really helps us out to have fresh legs out there, fresh bodies. And then Tone is a really good wide receiver. He’s a veteran guy and he can share his experiences with those guys as well. They all communicate well and it just makes our receiving corps and our offense better.

On if there’s anything that Holmes does that can open up opportunities for the other receivers…

He sees coverages so well. He’s so smart. He has a great feel for the game. I see him all the time, even when he wasn’t active, coaching guys, talking guys through routes and through plays and then once he gets out there he’s able to show them and just lead – lead by example. That’s something you really want and that’s something he’s been able to do.

On if he has to pick his spots when running with the football so he doesn’t take big hits and get injured…

I try not to. Just being smart. If the play’s there, if the lane’s there, take it. I never try and hold back from anything, but definitely play smart. Slide when you have to. Get out of bounds when you have to. Don’t take any unnecessary hits, but if you’ve got to pick up a first down you have to do what you have to do.

On what Matt Simms did against Cincinnati trying to pick up the first down…

Yes. He had to pick up the first down.

On if he runs more on design plays or when things break down…

I don’t know the exact stat, but I would say as of late, it has been more on design plays. When the passes have been there, we usually get pretty good protection, I’m able to stand there and deliver from the pocket. If it needs to be run on a broken play or something, I will do so as well.

On if the possibility of getting hit affects his decision to run…

No, honestly I just play football. I just go out there and play as hard as I can.

On if he received any compliments for his move on Cameron Jordan on his touchdown play against the Saints…

I don’t think I got any compliments. It was an end, I’m pretty sure he’s really good. Now if I do it to Mo [Wilkerson] or Quinton Coples, then I’ll get some compliments [joking]. But other than that no.

On if that play was instinctual…

I was just running. I was just running with instincts.

On Coach David Lee saying that he should have handed the ball off on that play…

Yeah. Coach Lee is a hard coach [laughter]. He’s right, I should have handed it off.

On if he should have handed the ball off even though it was a touchdown…

Yeah [laughter].

On if he is OK accepting that…

Yes.

On his relationship with Coach Ryan…

A great relationship. He is a player’s coach but he’s definitely a hard coach, he wants the best from us. He demands effort. That’s something we have no problem giving him because he is such a great coach and we all love him.

On Coach Ryan being tough on him during training camp…

I’ve had worse. Rightfully so he should have done that. At the position that I’m in I have to get better every single day. There is no room to relax. During that time I was injured but there’s no room to make any excuses. He was 100 percent right. I use every single thing as motivation to get better and to continue to grow.

On Ryan previously stating that he would like to have Tom Brady on his team…

Yes, same thing.

On if that got under his skin…

No, it doesn’t get under my skin because I know Rex, I know there was no malicious intent. I do use it as motivation. Who doesn’t want to be as good as a quarterback as Tom Brady? It’s something to definitely strive for.

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