In his first two seasons, Smith did little to inspire confidence in his long-term ability; a poll of experts recently questioned by ESPN rated him as the worst starter in the NFL. The weeks ahead offer a chance for Smith to convince the new regime—which didn't draft him, and has little invested in him—he has what it takes.
Smith is the Jets' fulcrum, and he could still teeter either way with his performance—while taking the team's fortunes with him. Heading into camp, it's difficult to gauge exactly where Smith is right now. "Up and down" was how Bowles summed up Smith's showing during the offseason program.
"It's got to be more consistency for the quarterbacks overall," Bowles added.
The good news is Smith had been digesting coordinator Chan Gailey's new offense, a spread-like system similar to what Smith had used in college. With veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick waiting in the wings, Smith is by no means a lock to keep his job. The addition of Gailey and WR Brandon Marshall removed two of the biggest obstacles hindering Smith, other than Smith's own limitations. That's because Gailey has made his bones by squeezing as much talent as possible out of marginal quarterbacks, and Marshall is arguably the biggest, best receiving target the Jets have had since Keyshawn Johnson, the story went on to say. Smith is buried down our list of QBs at 29th and isn't getting drafted in typical 12-team leagues.