Joe Douglas did not draft Geno Smith.
Robert Saleh never trained him.
There is not a single current Jets player who was Smith’s teammate when he was in New York.
So there’s no baggage left from Smith’s 32-year-old four largely failed seasons with the Jets, who drafted him in 2013 in hopes he would become the franchise quarterback that they have apparently been searching forever.
And here we are now: Six years after Smith’s final season with the Jets, Sunday in Seattle, the fate of football pits the Seahawks QB as a central figure standing in the way of the Jets’ bid to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
How delicious for the public.
And how dangerous for the Jets.
If you’re a defeatist Jets fan and a subscriber to the SOJ (Same Old Jets) theory, this is a game you fear with every fiber of your being, because these are the very games the team has too often. lost to count on the years.
The Jets absolutely cannot lose this game to Geno Smith or it will be placed on a Mantel of Shame alongside the rest of the franchise’s countless calamitous and cursed disappointments.
If Smith extinguishes the Jets’ playoff hopes, it would be overwhelming — even as the journeyman enjoyed a renaissance in 2022, thriving as a starter after Russell Wilson’s exit in Denver and being named to the Pro Bowl.
Smith leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.7) and has thrown for 27 touchdowns, one less than he threw in his four seasons with the Jets.
Yet he is Geno Smith, the player who, between bouts of pout and petulance, went 12-18 as a starter for the Jets and was knocked out by that locker room punch from his teammate. era IK Enemkpali for an unpaid debt right before the 2015 season.
The punch didn’t just shatter Smith’s jaw, it nearly shattered his career as he lost his starting job to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the Jets to a 10-6 season. , the last time they had a winning record.
Smith started just five games in the six seasons after the punch before taking over as Seattle’s starter this season and becoming one of the most surprising storylines in the league.
If Smith harbors grudges against the Jets, he covered it well Thursday by speaking to the Seattle media.
“Obviously there will be speculation and discussion about it,” Smith said. “I have a lot of love for the Jets. They drafted me, gave me the opportunity to be in the NFL and live my dream. My time there, I really enjoyed it, helped me grow as a man. I have become wiser.”
Smith avoided any discussion that this was some sort of revenge game for him. No one knows if that position will remain constant after Sunday’s game if the Seahawks win.
Smith, after leading Seattle to a 27-13 win over the Giants earlier this season, wasted no time in sticking a few needles into the Giants voodoo doll during his postgame interview.
“That game was for Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese,” Smith volunteered, referring to the Giants’ head coach and general manager when he was with them in 2017 and became a controversial figure when the franchise chose to throw it at the beloved Eli Manning, ending Manning. 210 consecutive games starting. “They believed in me.”
Smith clearly couldn’t help himself.
What could he have in store for the Jets if he beat them on Sunday?
When asked Thursday if he believed an “unfair narrative” was attached to him during his tenure with the Jets, Smith said, “I can’t even tell you what the narrative was. As for the game, maybe people have let down my ability to play this game at a high level. ”
Smith described his trials and tribulations with the Jets, including the knockout punch, losing his starting job to Fitzpatrick and not being invited after 2016 “an incredible moment for me. to grow and become an even more altruistic individual”.
“The way things turned out wasn’t in my plans or what I thought would happen, but it happened,” he said. “It was the first time I haven’t played or started since I was maybe 10. Then boom, something happens and now you have to sit down.
“Obviously an abnormal accident [the punch], things have happened and you don’t wish that on anyone. It was an amazing time for me to learn, but also to practice resilience and patience. It took a lot of patience and hard work to even have the opportunity to compete again as a starter after all that happened. Obviously, I managed to turn the tide and turn it into a positive result.
The Jets are Smith’s third and final former team he will face this season. He and the Seahawks defeated the Giants (2017) and Chargers (2018).
“It’s cool how it came together,” Smith said. “It was pretty cool to be able to go out and see some old faces and compete and try to win against them.”
Nothing for Jets fans would be cooler than losing to Smith on Sunday, once again knocked out of the playoffs.