FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- David Garrard earned his roster spot on Sunday.
When the Jets pulled Geno Smith from Sunday's 49-9 loss to the Bengals, it was Garrard's responsibility as the veteran third-string quarterback to talk things over with Smith. And that's what he did. It's not something that showed up in the box score, but he properly executed his one assignment on the day.
"I'm just trying to give him some words of encouragement and give him some of some of those life lessons," Garrard said of his conversation with Smith. "I'm sure he's going to respond to it well."
In the same way Mark Brunell mentored Mark Sanchez a few years back, the Jets are relying on Garrard not for his past success, but for how he can help Smith for the future. They want him to be in Smith's ear, giving him pointers, tips and any information he's accumulated over his career.
Garrard fully accepts that role, and is eager to help any way he can.
"He doesn't see me as a threat. He doesn't see me as anything more than just somebody who's here trying to help him be better with all the years of knowledge I have; for him to pull little nuggets here and there, that's what I try to do," Garrard said. "I try to give little nuggets to him so he can put them internally and chew on them and when he needs them he can bring them back up and reuse them."
One lesson Smith can learn from Sunday's game is how to avoid throwing pick-sixes, which he did twice against the Bengals. Garrard said Smith can't throw the ball late to the outside, and added that the rookie echoed that right after his mistakes.
Garrard complimented Smith for his demeanor Monday, when he said Smith was no different following this 40-point drubbing than he was following the Jets' upset win over the Patriots the previous week.
"For a rookie, to me, he is definitely years beyond his time as a rookie. I think he's going to be fine," Garrard said. "We're going to have a great week of preparation and coaches are going to put together a great game plan. Really, he has to step out on the field and make it happen."
Smith, who like the Jets is up and down each week, said he watched the film with quarterbacks coach David Lee and has already put the game behind him. He said he has to improve on his turnovers, as he tossed at least two interceptions in a game for the fifth time this season. Smith said it's not difficult for him to put that type of game behind him as the Jets prepare to welcome the Saints.
"I'm the type of guy that's always going to put it behind me because you can't get it back. It came and gone," Smith said. "As bad as I want to take some of those throws back, to have some of those plays back, you can't get them back, so you have to move on from it."