Rex Ryan called Geno Smith “brutal” after practice yesterday, when the rookie quarterback threw four interceptions during the practice session. Smith had previously been much better at ball security during training camp, but had a really bad day. He also injured his ankle in Friday night’s preseason game, when Mark Sanchez threw a pick six on the opening series, and Smith came in and went 6 for 7 for 47 yards in his first game.
“That was Geno’s worst day, obviously,” Ryan said. “The ankle is part of it. That’s way too many picks. He didn’t look comfortable today. It was a bad day. … We’ve seen guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day.
It’s an interesting and public rebuke of his young quarterback. Here’s the thing. An archive search reveals only fifteen articles using “Mark Sanchez”, “Rex Ryan” and “brutal” within 50 words of each other. A few of those are the articles from yesterday where Sanchez is mentioned at the same time Rex Ryan refers to Geno Smith’s brutal performance. Most others are the writer calling a performance brutal. In a “brutal” game in his rookie year, Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions, fumbled, and went 8 of 21. Rex did not pull out the brutal card. “He’s not going to get any better sitting on the sideline,” Ryan said. “The only way to (learn) is to (play).” [PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK, The Boston Herald, November 23, 2009]. (and yes, I’m curious as to what was really said in those parentheses).
Mark Sanchez has 69 interceptions, 42 fumbles, and 1 butt fumble since 2009. That combined total of 112 is ahead of everyone over that span, and the word brutal could have used many times over in describing Sanchez. That it never was, but Geno Smith draws this comment before his second preseason game, based on a practice with a hobbling young quarterback, means something. What that something is, I don’t know. Does Rex think he needs to motivate Geno Smith in a far different way, publicly calling him out when he often treated Mark Sanchez with kid gloves? Smith received plenty of off the record criticism for his attitude during the pre-draft process. Smith even called Wednesday’s practice “a pretty good day” and said he was getting better. Perhaps Rex Ryan feels he needs to light a fire under Smith to make him angry, to bring something out of him.
One thing I would bank on–don’t expect Geno to be featured in a Rex Ryan tattoo any time soon.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]
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