GENO: We're Going to Continue to Compete

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

On the challenges of a rookie quarterback in the NFL…

There's going to be challenges. I fully expect those. The key is to move on from it, learn from it. Just move on from it. It's something that happens to every single quarterback. It's something that's going to continually happen as you play in this league. I'm accepting all challenges and I look forward to it.

On when he found out he was starting against Tampa Bay…

Today. Today they gave me the word.

On how he found out he was starting against Tampa Bay…

We walked into the meeting and Coach [David] Lee told them, "Hey, we're going with Geno."

On how he feels going into Sunday…

I feel great. The ankle is still something that I'm treating. It's something that's getting better day by day. Overall I feel pretty good. I'm able to go out there, I've been practicing well. I feel fine out there. Hopefully Sunday it's the same.

On how he feels Tampa Bay's defense will try to challenge a rookie quarterback…

I expect everything, many different looks. I expect pressure, especially early. They'll try and rattle my cage. Coach Schiano is a guy who I've faced in college so we have some familiarities there but I expect everything. I expect those guys to come out fired up. They want to make a statement, they're facing a rookie quarterback, they definitely want to hit me, get me out of my game. I expect those things and I look forward to it.

On if Tampa Bay can rattle him…

No.

On if he told this is a week-to-week situation…

I wasn't told anything. The only word that I got was that I was starting this week and that was it.

On if he has to earn the starting position week to week…

I've got to earn it. Nothing is given in this league. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to do that.

On if it matters to him that some are portraying he is starting by default…

It doesn't matter. What's important is the opportunity that I have, and it's a great one. I'm excited about it. I'm happy that my coaches and my teammates trust in me. To be a part of this team is a very big accomplishment for me, that alone. Not many people make the team. To be a rookie, to have an opportunity to be a starting quarterback in this league, it's great. But I'm not here to celebrate, I'm still working hard, still trying to prepare myself mind and body to go out there and have a great game.

On the reaction he has received from teammates…

Everyone has been supportive. All of my teammates, they're great guys. Coaches as well. It's something I'm pleased with, it's something that eases a lot of the pressure off my shoulders knowing that I have guys who are right there, going to fight with me play for play. The offensive line has been great — those guys are ready to protect. I lean on my teammates. Those guys are the ones who ultimately give us wins. That's really good to have teammates like that.

On if Mark Sanchez gave him any words of encouragement…

We talk. Most things are private, Mark's a guy, like I said, who's been a great veteran for me. He's been the guy that I'm able to lean on. When I have questions I do go to him and he gives me feedback. He's been great with that.

On facing Darrelle Revis…

Excited. Everyone knows about Revis Island. I'm excited to go against a guy like that. That's what this league is all about, facing guys who are of stellar performance. He's one of those guys. I look forward to facing that defense. He's one of the leaders of that defense. It's going to be fun.

On if he has heard from John Idzik or Woody Johnson…

Not yet. I talk to John and Woody often, but not yet.

On if he feels rushed or if he feels ready…

I'm ready. I don't think I've been rushed. I don't think they would put me out there if they didn't think I was ready. Like I said, I've been preparing my butt off. It's something that's going to continue to improve. My preparation will never change. I'm going to go out there with the intent to have a great game.

On how was practice was…

Fast, up-tempo. Practice was great. It was hot out there, guys were competing. The scout team defense did a great job giving us great looks for Tampa. Everything was fast. We were pretty sharp today. I was pleased with the effort that we got as well as the execution. I think we have to continue to put together days like that and it will lead to a good game Sunday.

On the health of his ankle…

It's steadily improving. It's a ways away from where it was when I was in Cortland. It's something I'm going to continue to treat even if its feeling fine, just to make sure that I take those precautions. It's going to get better. It feels good, I'm able to drive, I'm able to run full speed, do all those things I'm accustomed to. It's something I just have to continue to stick with and it will get better.

On if he feels it when he is moving around…

Not much. I don't think about it. When it first occurred, I tried not to. The pain has decreased significantly. It's still something you've got to pay attention to.

On how he would describe the quarterback competition…

Great experience. The competition, from my understanding, is still going. We're going to continue to compete. That's what practicing is about, that's what being an athlete is about. That's the way you get better, by competing every single day. It's something I try to do. I compete with myself and try to chase perfection and it's going to continue.

On if he has the mentality that he is the starter every week…

Of course you want to be the starter every single week. That's my goal. But at the same time you have to play it day by day. You've got to focus on the task at hand, which is taking care of practice, taking care of every single thing in meetings. That's my goal, not to look ahead but to focus on right here and right now.

On when he started watching video on Tampa Bay…

I started the Philadelphia week, when I got word that I wouldn't be playing, I started looking at Tampa Bay and it helped me out.

On if he considers himself the franchise quarterback of the Jets…

I'd like to be. That's a tough question. Honestly, I would love to be the franchise quarterback here, I think that's the reason they brought me in. But like I said, I don't want to look ahead. I'm focusing on what I have here and now. That's to work hard and that's to get better and prove my stay and not to be given anything.

On if he expects to duplicate the success of last year's rookie quarterback class…

I want to exceed those expectations. I'm not the type of guy that's going to sit here and shy away from any competition. To be honest with you, what guys did in the past has no affect on me. I've got to go out there and I've got to play. I have to manage every single down. That's something that I'll try and do, something that I'm capable of doing. I know my coaches and teammates have full confidence in me because they've seen what I can do on a daily basis, not just one game. I'm going to go out there and play my game, have fun and be the leader that I am.

On the idea that the team does not have playmakers to work with…

I don't agree with that one bit. We have great playmakers here. We've got Stephen Hill, second-year guy that can stretch the field. We've got Santonio Holmes, Super Bowl MVP. Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, two guys who are quick and fast who can beat any defender. Three tight ends who can get open versus man or zone coverage. I think we have a lot of weapons that will be very useful. Sooner or later people will see. We've just got to continue to work.

On if he dreamed about his first NFL start as a kid…

I always dreamed of being in the NFL, but it was always a longshot. You can't really put too much into those things, especially as a kid. Yeah, there's dreams but at the same time you have to go out and chase it. To be here and to have an opportunity to start is great. But like I said, I'm not here to celebrate. I'm working hard like every single guy in this locker room is. We're focused.

On if he received instructions on how to talk about being the starter…

No. No advice. That's my mentality. That's the reason guys around here respect me. I'm focused, I'm focused on the right things and not anything else.

On the importance of the relationship between a quarterback and center…

It's very important. That communication is big, we've got to be on the page, we've got to be seeing the same things out there. Nick [Mangold] is great with that. He's taught me a lot in my short stay here. Nick's doing a great job and we're going to continue to communicate and make sure we are all always on the same page.

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