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Former Jets QBs coach David Lee: Geno Smith's mistakes 'killed us'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- David Lee, who rarely spoke to the media during his two seasons as the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach, came out with gums blazing in his new job with Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills.

Speaking to the Bills' official website at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Lee -- hired last week -- was critical of Geno Smith for his erratic play.

"Rex and I talked about it. [Smith] had some inconsistency, and the up-and-down part is what killed us," Lee said. "He would get loose with the football. We played good enough defense to win over there both years, but his play, it'll cost you and it cost us. But he also did some great things. The last five games this season he was the seventh-rated passer in the league. He had a perfect passer rating in his last game at Miami. The potential and ability is there."

Smith finished with a 97.9 passer rating over the final five games, ahead of stars such as Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But in the first 11 games ... well, Smith played so poorly that he got benched in favor of Michael Vick. Overall, Smith finished 29th in passer rating, with a 77.5 mark.

Smith was a tough project for Lee, who had to teach him a pro-style offense. Because of Mark Sanchez's preseason injury in 2013, Smith was rushed into the starting lineup and wasn't ready for it.

Now Lee has a new pupil, EJ Manuel, a former first-round pick whose career is heading south. Manuel and Smith were drafted the same year, 2013.

"We flew him in before the draft and I gave him a test," Lee said of Manuel. "I gave him a pamphlet to study and told him I was going to test him the next morning. It was long and detailed and he aced it. He didn't miss anything. No other quarterback that came in did that, but he did."