CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) — Geno Smith threw one interception, and then another. And then, two more.
It wasn’t a good performance by the New York Jets rookie quarterback. At all.
“It was brutal,” coach Rex Ryan said flatly on Wednesday. “That was Geno’s worst day.”
Smith, competing with Mark Sanchez for the starting job, was intercepted four times, including three in 11-on-11 team drills. He is still dealing with a sprained right ankle, that he has looked less hobbled by in practice the last few days. But Ryan said it is clearly affecting his performance, as well as his fundamentals and being late on some throws.
“Obviously, the ankle is part of it, but way too many picks,” Ryan said. “He did not look comfortable today. Obviously, he has to come back from it, and he will come back from it. But it was a bad day.”
“Guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day.”
It was also an unseasonably cold day in Cortland — the temperature at the start of practice was a mere 52 degrees with occasional rain.
“It was a beautiful December day today,” Ryan quipped. “That, without question, had to be the coldest training camp day I’ve ever been a part of. That’s about 30 years.
“Man, that was chilly. Almost as chilly as the offensive performance today.”
And that included Smith’s performance. The second-round pick, however, insisted the ankle has not been a factor.
“I haven’t really been trying to use it as an excuse,” he said. “I’ve been going out there and giving it my all, and I think I’ve done a good job of just pushing through this week.”
Ryan agreed that Smith hasn’t been using the injury an excuse for his performances lately, but added that it’s “bravado” by the quarterback saying it’s not affecting him.
“Guys, you see it out there,” Ryan said. “He’s not able to move like he normally does. He’s not able to drive the ball like he normally does with his velocity. That doesn’t mean he still can’t get out there. He’s competing. He’s been out there every day.
“But is he 100 percent? I would say that he’s not 100 percent.”
The Jets have still not decided on a starter for the team’s preseason game Saturday night against Jacksonville, but Sanchez has outperformed Smith this week. When asked if he wants to start Saturday, Smith curiously said: “No comment.”
Ryan acknowledged that it’s a “possibility” Smith won’t play against the Jaguars, but added that there’s still plenty of time for the injury to heal.
Smith, meanwhile, remained positive about his camp so far — as well as the injury.
“The ankle’s feeling good,” Smith said. “It’s getting progressively better.”
Smith was injured in the team’s preseason opener at Detroit last Friday night, but has not missed any practice time. He worked mostly with the first-team offense Wednesday, and appeared to move around the field with only a slight limp at times.
With both quarterbacks facing the scout-team defenses as the Jets prepare for Jacksonville, Smith was not sharp. He was intercepted by Rontez Miles on a pass that went off the hands of Ryan Spadola in 7-on-7 drills, and also picked off by Royce Adams, Jacquies Smith and Bret Lockett in 11-on-11 drills.
“It was a bad day today,” Ryan said. “There’s no other way to put it. It was a bad day. Was I disappointed he had the day he did today? Absolutely. These days happen, but you don’t expect them to happen.”
When asked what happened on the interceptions, Smith got slightly testy.
“I don’t know,” he said. “You’ve got to watch the tape man, I’m pretty sure you all got it. Just go ahead and watch it.”
Ryan indicated that he and his staff need to see more of both Smith and Sanchez before they consider who will win the competition and start in Week 1 against Tampa Bay.
“Will it become more of a sense of urgency probably after this game? I would say so,” Ryan said. “I thought this was going to be a real competition and it wouldn’t be just solved after one week of a preseason game. I don’t know that many are really decided after one preseason game. So I don’t think it’s a surprise that there’s not clarity at a number of positions.”
NOTES: RB-KR Joe McKnight (head injury) missed practice for a second straight day after needing to be carted off the field and needing oxygen Monday. He declined comment when approached by reporters. … RB Chris Ivory was a full participant for the third straight practice, and appears on pace to make his Jets game debut Saturday. … WR Clyde Gates (head injury) returned to practice after missing two days. NT Kenrick Ellis, P Robert Malone and LB Josh Mauga were all out with back issues. … The Jets have one more practice at Cortland on Thursday, but it is closed to the public and there is no media availability.