ESPN's Jon Gruden say it's too soon to give up on Geno Smith

Jon Gruden believes Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, left, can serve as a bridge to a future that could still include Geno Smith, right. Julio Cortez/AP Photo

Jon Gruden is a fan of Geno Smith's physical talent, but he's like a lot of football people in that he's wondering if the New York Jets' quarterback could've avoided the infamous locker-room incident with then-teammate IK Enemkpali.

Either way, Gruden believes Smith deserves another chance at some point.

"I don't know the exactness of his role in what happened, but there's a lot of smoke," the ESPN "Monday Night Football" analyst said Wednesday on a conference call. "Wherever there's smoke, there's fire. I've never heard of anything like this, but I do think he he's a young quarterback with talent.

"I think (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, on his fifth or sixth team, will be a good bridge to the future," Gruden continued. "But you still have to find out who the future is. Is it Geno Smith? I think it's too early to give up on him. Hopefully, Fitzpatrick can play solid football until they have an opportunity to decide for themselves."

Gruden will see Fitzpatrick & Co. in a few weeks, as the Jets play on Monday night in Week 2 -- at the Indianapolis Colts. Fitzpatrick will be the starter as Smith recovers from a broken jaw, which will sideline him at least four games.

"I like Geno because I know what kind of talent he has," Gruden said. "There are tapes last year -- I think the Miami game ... where you say, 'Man, this guy has the ability to run and throw. There were some throws he made at New England last year that were unbelievable."