In the sitcom-like drama known as the 2017 New York Giants, an old Jets team found its way into the beef.
Prior to Geno Smith’s first start with Big Blue, which ended Eli Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts, former Jets head coach Rex Ryan expressed his beliefs about the benching to the New York Daily News. He said, “good for Geno, but I don’t understand it,” then went on to call it “bizarre” and “a slap in the face to a great veteran player.”
On Sunday, after a 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Smith responded.
“I did see one of my ex-coaches say he didn’t want me to be his quarterback,” Smith said according to Newsday’s Bob Glauber. “That really upset me. I saved his job in 2013. We fought our ass for him both years. For him to say that shows how much of a coward he is.”
While Ryan’s comments didn’t seem to be directed in a negative way toward Smith — they were more of an indictment on the mismanagement of Manning — it clearly upset the 27-year-old quarterback.
In that 2013 season, Smith’s rookie year, the former West Virginia star led the Jets to a surprising 8-8 record despite having a supporting cast nearly as talentless as this year’s Giants squad. Ryan, who was on the hot seat, was given a second chance, but he was fired after a 2014 season during which the Jets went 4-12.
Smith’s first start as a Giant went about as expected — 21-of-34 for 212 yards, a touchdown and two fumbles. The Giants’ problems, though, are much deeper than the quarterback position.