The sad thing is, there are people who actually had high hopes for Geno Smith in 2015.
“I was kind of cautiously optimistic about Geno Smith’s prospects for the Jets this season,” New Jersey Advance Media Jets writer Dom Cosentino said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I felt with two years under his belt, even though he struggled, the fact that they brought in Chan Gailey to bring in an offense to simplify things for him – they were going to run a spread like he had used in college – (would be good for him). They got Brandon Marshall to give him a legitimate receiving target, which the Jets had not had really for a long time. He deserved an opportunity this season to see what he could do in Year 3.”
Instead, Smith will miss six to 10 weeks, at least, this after breaking his jaw during a locker-room altercation with reserve linebacker IK Enemkpali on Tuesday. The dispute was apparently over a $600 plane ticket that Enemkpali gave Smith to appear at his football camp in July. Smith, however, didn’t show up and Enemkpali wanted to be reimbursed.
It appears he wasn’t.
Smith was punched in the face, and seemingly no teammates came to his aid – neither in the moment, nor in the aftermath while addressing media.
“That was the most fascinating part about all this today,” Cosentino said. “We have a starting quarterback in the National Football League who got knocked cold by a sixth-round draft pick from last season who’s never really played much at all, and the reaction in the locker room wasn’t really where guys were rallying to Geno’s defense. It was really an indication from these guys that Geno had done things to escalate this altercation, that he could have defused it, that he should have defused it. Willie Colon was even asked, ‘Does Geno bear any responsibility for this?’ And Colon, who’s an offensive lineman – starting right guard for the team – responded, ‘I’d like to give you the real answer on this.’ So when you consider all that’s happened, it sounds a lot like Geno had done something to provoke this beyond just a guy coming up and cold-cocking him for no reason.”
It’s hard to envision this ever happening to a quarterback like Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger or Russell Wilson. That it happened to Smith isn’t as shocking, but it was surprising nevertheless.
Which is why the media reacted, in the words of Scott Ferrall, “like Joe Montana had his legs cut off.”
“Well, it’s not every day that a starting quarterback in the NFL a) gets into a fight with a teammate, b) gets punched by that teammate and is out for 6 to 10 weeks or whatever the case may be,” Cosentino said. “I think that’s why you have this sort of reaction. It’s not necessarily because it’s Geno Smith or the Jets. This is such a bizarre story that it’s fascinating to people. People want to know how something like this can happen. The reports have been that (it was) over Geno not paying money for a plane ticket to a charity event that IK Enemkpali had had about a month ago. All of that seems like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things and not really something that ought to rise to the level of a guy punching a quarterback in such a way that he injures him for this long. It’s not something you see. I think that’s why people were really captivated by it.”