FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – You can't blame Geno Smith for being too pessimistic. As the New York Jets' 2-11 season grinds toward its bleak conclusion, the Jets starting quarterback faces questions about this ability and his future. Yet, Smith takes a glass half full approach -- if not all the way full.
"We believe that we're going to come out of this and be successful," Smith said. "I know that I'm going to be successful and I believe in all my teammates in saying that we'll all be successful. We don't like to talk about the future, because we're living in the right now, but it's almost exciting to think about all the room for improvement that we have. But at the same time, we've got to really hone in on the right now and just focus on what we need to do right now."
As the discussion has turned from winning games to whether the team should lose out to position itself for a future draft pick like quarterback Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, second-year player Sheldon Richardson has a word for fans like that.
"They're quitters," Richardson said. "That's how I feel. You go all-in with a guy, why not give him his chance?"
Richardson says that Smith, who was benched for three games as veteran Michael Vick started, still has potential.
"Even though he does decent some people think he does horrible," Richardson said. "He's still the guy at the end of the day and I applaud him for that. The position he's in and the scrutiny he gets [is a lot]."
Smith has definitely lost some of the confidence he brought to the league last season, but he still talks about the future as though he will be a Jet.
"I have the utmost amount of confidence in myself and my teammates and I truly believe that we're going to be successful," Smith said. "I know that it doesn't always seem that way at times, but just having that bigger picture in my mind and knowing what we're all striving for and what we can all achieve, I think we have the right guys in this locker room. The nucleus of this locker room is very strong and the talent is there. We fell short many games this year by a small margin and that's the NFL, but we're young and we're learning and we're going to find ways to win."
Smith said that he's made some mistakes, which he has identified.
"I look at my season and all the plays that we've had and all the good things that we've done as an offense, the yardage, the way we've been able to move the ball and [they are] very positive signs, but there are things that we need to improve on," Smith said, "And one thing that I know is I'm going to work my butt off to make sure that I do improve on those things. I've seen the improvement over the course of time with subtle things that I've been really focusing on, but there's still lots of room to grow and I've got to keep working at it and I know it's going to happen. You've just got to keep working at it and trusting what you've been doing."
They say keeping a positive attitude is important, but at 2-11, it's hard to square what Smith says with the way the Jets have performed.