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GENO: I’ll Find Every Single Way to Get Better

Posted Dec 30, 2013

Transcript of QB Geno Smith's Monday news conference.

On Coach Rex Ryan’s message to the team today…

First of all, he told us that we didn’t reach our goals, but we got better as a team and we’ve got to go into the offseason with the right mentality. Every guy has got to be accountable, not get into any trouble and then just come back ready to prepare again and go after it next season.

On his reaction when he found out that Coach Ryan was coming back next season…

When we found out, it was pure joy in the locker room. We were all happy for him and also selfishly, I’m happy to have my coach back because we really enjoy playing for him and we just look forward to the future here.

On finishing strong without any turnovers in the last two games…

Well, it just means that we’re showing improvement as an offense. We’re all getting better together and collectively and it’s led to those two wins. But obviously, we felt as though we should’ve done better throughout the season. We had our ups and downs. We can’t take them back, but the key thing is to just learn from it and get better.

On  if he thinks his play is ascending…

Yeah, I think we all are. We’re getting better as a team. Every single guy is becoming more comfortable in his surroundings, in his role and with his teammates. And it’s leading to us trusting one another. I can count on my guys, as far as receivers and running backs, to be in the right spots and to always make the clutch catch and to make me look good even when I’m not playing so well. As long as we continue to build on that, we’ll have a really good future here.

On the team being in a positive mood…

We’ve always remained positive and I think it’s because we’re a close-knit group. We all really love one another, really enjoy one another, and when we were eliminated from the playoffs it really hurt us. But we took it upon ourselves to make sure that these last two games didn’t go in vain. We worked extremely hard, we got better, and we came out with the right mindset.

On coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's and QBs coach David Lee’s messages to him…

To get better. We’re trying to find ways to get better in every single angle and aspect. I’ve got plenty of room to improve. I’m going to use this offseason to be extremely critical of myself and find every single way to get better.

On  if he expects to compete to be the starting quarterback next season…

As long as I’m in this league I expect to be competing and I’m always going to compete. No matter what, that’s going to be my goal, to compete and to get better every single day.

On  if he thinks being benched in the first Miami game helped contribute to his recent success or was the benching overblown…

I wouldn’t say it’s overblown. I understand why the decision was made, but I think it just lit a fire in me and just gave me that competitive edge that was always there but maybe needed to be pulled to the forefront. It just allowed me to see things from a better perspective and ultimately it was the right decision. I wasn’t playing well in that game and we picked it up in the last month. It’s something that I’ve got to work towards, to not ever let happen again.

On the importance of having the same coaches back and working in the same offensive system…

Yeah, it’s very important to have the same system for a second year. To have an offseason in the system is extremely important and to have the same coaches and the guys that you’re familiar with, that you’ve been with throughout a season, it pays dividends in the long run.

On how he evaluates his rookie season…

Obviously, it was up and down. I had some positives, had some negatives, but overall, as an individual and as a team, we got better and we progressed. And overall, I think we’re headed in the right direction.

On the organization sticking with him throughout the season…

Well, you know it started with just the great supporting cast that we have here and the locker room, from players to coaches to everyone around this building, started with the confidence of the head coach never wavering in me and allowing me to have those mistakes and to continue to play through them, and then, just my confidence in myself, being the same guy every single day, not showing any signs of weakness or fear, and then us just getting better as a team.

It’s something that we believe in. We believe in Rex, we believe in our staff, and we believe in the direction that we’re headed. So we’re just getting better and we’re going to continue to focus on the things that are right.

On looking back at the NFL Draft…

It couldn’t have happened in a better way. Not only did it give me that fuel that I needed to go out and to be that hard-working guy every single day, but I landed in a great spot, with a great team, great organization, and I have a bright future here.

On if when he first joined the team, he imagined that he would start the entire season…

Yeah, I believed it was possible. Obviously, it was going to take a lot of hard work. I put the work in and allowed myself to at least have a shot. When I got my chance, I just wanted to be ready for the situation, and for the most part I think I was. I know that I prepared my butt off every single week despite the ups and downs and came out with the intent to play well. I didn’t do so in every single game, but I learned from all my mistakes and I’m continuing to grow.

On what it meant to him that the team stuck with him as the starter after he was benched in the first Miami game…

Yeah, it meant a lot to me. Obviously, I never want to come out of a game. I always want to be out there fighting with my teammates, but it meant a lot that the organization and that my head coach had the faith in me after pulling me at the half, to put me back out there and to allow me to start again. I just wanted to repay those guys for the confidence they had in my and I’d like to think I did so.

On his relationship with Coach Ryan compared to his previous relationships with coaches…

I’ve always had good relationships with the coaches. I’m usually always around here just as they are so we cross paths a few times in the building. Rex is a really great coach, a hard-working guy. We have some similar characteristics, so we hit it off there. Just to be able to play for a guy like Rex, to be able to be under a staff like this means a lot to me because I know how hard they work. I know how much time and effort they put into this. We just want to repay them as players by playing well on Sundays.

On looking forward to training camp…

Right now I haven’t thought about that. Down the line, when I’m preparing and I’m training, I won’t be thinking about that because I have to prepare myself and get ready for another camp, another chance to get better. Every single time I step on the field with these guys, we’re going to take the right mentality and come out and try to get better as an offense and as a group. We’re all going to get together this offseason, we’re going to put the work in, and we’re going to prepare ourselves and have an excellent showing in the 2014 season.

On if his progression this year validates him as the starting quarterback…

I have to work. Nothing I did this year is going to help me in terms of next year. It’s all going to come down to the work I put in this offseason and how much I can get better from this season to the next. I’m not looking at it as what I did this year going into next year. I have to put the work in the offseason. I have to prove myself every single day in practice in order to be the starter.

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