Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/8/13
Geno Smith has passed his daily quizzes for two weeks playing flag football in training camp but the real exam comes Friday night when he trades in his red non-contact jersey for a green-and-white one. The Jets’ quarterback competition may have technically started months ago when Smith and incumbent Mark Sanchez were frolicking around a New Jersey practice field in shorts but it’s a lot easier completing passes when oversized humans trained to snap quarterbacks in half aren’t permitted to lay a finger on you. Smith of course has played tackle football for a long time but the NFL even in the preseason is an entirely different beast. Rex Ryan & Co. will find out more about Smith on Friday night than they have through the first couple weeks of camp. “It's not different at all” said Smith who is expected to get a little time with the starters before getting a bunch of work with the second-team offense. “I’ve played many football games. And a hit is a hit.” Tell that to Aaron Rodgers Jay Cutler or any of the other quarterbacks who have absorbed teeth-rattling (and sometimes illegal) blows from Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. Sanchez will start so it’s possible that Smith will altogether avoid Suh and fellow defensive linemen Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah. However losing the protection of the red jersey will allow Jets brass to better evaluate the rookie. “I think you’ll learn a lot” Ryan said. “Obviously in college they get hit too. . . . You’re going to get hit in this league no question about it. So we’ll see how (Smith) react(s).” Although Smith didn’t get the start it’s no secret that first-year GM John Idzik hopes his second-round pick wins the job. Idzik probably doesn’t have a No. 7 tattoo yet but give it time. If Smith turns into the franchise quarterback Idzik hopes he can be anything is possible. Smith hasn’t been told whether he’ll start the second preseason game against the Jaguars at Met Life Stadium on Aug. 17 but given the open nature of the competition it’s likely he will. “I don’t know yet” Smith said. “But it’ll be interesting to see.” Organizational rooting interests aside the performances of Sanchez and Smith in the first preseason game will go a long way toward determining who will be under center when the Jets open the season against the Buccaneers on Sept. 8.
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