Geno Smith made his first start of the season on Sunday, but hours before he did, he watched the pregame shows. And it was then that he heard his former Jets coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan weigh in on the state of Smith's game.
"... I did see one of my ex-coaches say he didn't want me to be his quarterback, and that really upset me, you know?" Smith said after going 21 of 34 yards for 212 yards with a touchdown and two lost fumbles in the Giants' 24-17 loss in Oakland. "A guy that we saved his job in 2013, and we fought our ass for him both years, and for him to come out and say that just shows you how much of a coward he is."
Ryan drafted Smith in the second round back in 2013, four years after Ryan traded up in the first round to take Mark Sanchez. In four seasons with the Jets, Smith went 12-18, completed 57.9 percent of his throws and had 28 touchdowns against 36 interceptions.
"I was just sitting in my room watching because we have the time difference," Smith said. "So I am just watching a little bit of football and, you know, see that happened, and it is like, wow, the guy, first of all, you drafted me. Second of all, you started me. Third of all, I went out there, and I gave you everything I had, and then you go out and say that. It's unfortunate."
This isn't the first time Ryan has had less-than-exemplary things to say about one of his former quarterbacks. In October, here's what he said about Sanchez, whom the Jets traded its first- and second-round draft picks, along with three players to move up and take with the fifth-overall pick in the '09 draft.
"With Sanchez, I knew he wasn't going to be a franchise quarterback, but I thought he'd be good enough to win with," Ryan told ESPN.com's Rich Cimini. "The guys coming out in this year's class have a much higher rating than Mark had -- and Mark was OK."
It was during that conversation that Ryan also admitted that the Jets didn't do enough to help Smith.
"We never added anything that could help him. And he didn't help himself, either. It was that combination."
Not surprisingly, Smith says he doesn't "care to speak to [Ryan] again." Instead, the 27-year-old quarterback is focused on the Giants' next game. A week after benching Eli Manning, embattled coach Ben McAdoo hasn't named a starter for the Week 14 matchup with the Cowboys but he told reporters on Sunday that, "We'll take a look at the tape first and put our heads together and see where we want to go with it."