Geno Smith tells the defense he's sorry

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After the 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans, rookie quarterback Geno Smith apologized to the New York Jets defense.

“I felt I owed the defense an apology,” Smith said. “They worked their butts off to be one of the best in the league and they pride themselves on not giving up points but whenever you turn the ball over and they lead to scores -- And they bailed us out time and time again so far – but whenever you turn it over that many times it’s hard or those guys to go out there and do their jobs when it’s a short field. Just wanted to talk to those guys and let them know I was aware of my mistakes and I wanted to clean them up and I will clean them up.”

Asked what his motivation was in making the apology, Smith implied it was about the qualities that make a strong leader.

“It’s just taking ownership to your mistakes and manning up,” Smith said. “I think guys respect that more than anything.”

Brady Quinn has been inactive for the first few games of the season, but the Jets have not put in backup Matt Simms during the games in which Smith has struggled. Jets coach Rex Ryan said he is sticking with Smith for now, and the veteran Quinn can empathize with Smith’s situation.

“I think he’s going through what a rookie goes through,” Quinn said. “You’ve got some things you do great and some things you don’t do as well as you’d like but when it comes down to it it’s a team game so especially at the quarterback position there are a lot of things that can affect your job.”

Quinn said any questions about whether he could be activated were better directed to Ryan and general manager John Idzik, but he said he is familiar with the playbook.

For now though, Smith’s position is safe, though he doesn’t feel that way.

“I mean in this league, if you don’t get it done, there’s a guy — they’ll find a guy,” Smith said. “I’m not particularly worried about what anyone else is doing other than being myself and taking care of my job. I know if I take care of the ball, if I put us in good situations, we’ll have a good chance. That’s all I really focus on.”

And he doesn’t have to apologize for doing that.