Welcome to New York Geno, where the media will work tirelessly to cripple your career before it even begins.
I was doing my morning daily rounds and I stumbled across an article on NFL.com by Marc Sessler, who makes several interesting points regarding these anonymous sources and Geno Smith:
Had Geno Smith been snatched up by, say, the San Diego Chargers to sit and learn behind Philip Rivers, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
Instead, Smith was drafted by the New York Jets, and the former West Virginia quarterback -- thrown into Gotham's media grinder -- now finds himself under a mountain of post-draft criticism.
This is the sad truth, now tell me the New York media, especially the media surrounding the Jets is not a hindrance to this organization. Had he been drafted by San Diego, he would still be the same player, he would have still fired his agents and he would have still been texting on his phone during visits, but their media would not crucify him like ours is trying to do. They would focus on his game, how is he going to play with the receivers we have? how will he adapt to the west coast offense? How is he getting on with the play-book handed to him the first day?
I say this because I follow a lot of beat reporters on twitter and i don't just read news from the Jets. The likes of San Diego, the likes of San Francisco, Pittsburgh and I'll even say New England have football people on their beat. We have tabloid people, more suited to working for TMZ than following a team and reporting on the football news the fans find relevant. Last night I read an article about Bill Belichick, his thoughts on the draft class and how he handles home sickness for his rookie players. I switch to the Jets, they are relating quotes from anonymous sources about how Geno Smith is a spoiled brat and how Mark Sanchez's hairband was a little off. We have known for some time that our beat reporters represent a flesh eating disease slowing chomping at the bit while we represent the white blood cells, eager but unable to fight them off.
Smith has been squeaky clean off the field, but who could guess from the snowstorm of criticism he's facing? After all, it takes little courage for anonymous scouts to pile on a player who hasn't taken a professional snap.
It takes plenty of courage to endure it.
I applaud Marc Sessler for speaking out about these anonymous sources, the only metric we lead the league in season after season. I have seen rival fans mention that it is Jets paranoia that players drafted by us are treated differently to players drafted by other organizations. Well it's not, as Marc put it so well in the first quote, had he been drafted in San Diego, we would probably not even be reading this article, and that is completely accurate.
Unfortunately for us, this isn't going to go away. As long as we have certain beat reporters following this football team we will always have to suffer through TMZ style reporting. Something that gets to us, and something that will get to the players. They are not immune to these criticisms, they will come out and say all the right things, but criticism will eat you alive if you hear it enough. The simple fact is that it is my own personal belief that a lot of our beat reporters use anonymous sources and sensationalist headlines to make up for a lack of real football knowledge. Which is why they create and seek tabloid like stories.
This is a clear message to Geno. We don't care if some NFC executive took you off their board because of what he perceived you to be in a couple of hours of your time. Their loss, our gain. We don't care if you tweeted a friend while at a facility, or that after 20 interviews at the combine you didn't blow the roof off the interview. We don't care if you made a business decision to fire your agents because they didn't represent you like they should. If they gave you bad advice that cost you a couple of million $, you should fire them and we would all do the same thin.
We do care that you are now a part of the franchise and represent hope for the future. We do care that you have never once had any off the field issues and you worked to help the community while in West Virginia. We do care that you threw 98 touchdowns to just 21 interceptions through your career at West Virginia. We do care that you completed over 70% of your passes in your senior year. We do care that you had a quick short release and impeccable accuracy in short to medium routes, which fits perfectly with our new west coast offense.
Unfortunately for us, the beat reporters will continue to be a plague, a black mark against this franchise.