With the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of inanity, Geno Smith once again has been given the keys to the Porsche. As the Jets’ default starter, he’s taking all the QB1 reps in OTAs while Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty play backup, and his performance has drawn praise from his coaches. Suddenly, Geno is back in the media spotlight after a year in the shadows. If he plays his cards right, he could pull the rug out from under Fitzpatrick’s feet and win the starting job.
Fortunately for Geno, The Ringer is on his side. As the world’s leading Geno Smith fanzine, we feel a moral obligation to help him make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Herewith, then — a five-step guide to doing just that:
1. Don’t borrow money from your teammates. Ever.
Fitzpatrick never would have been promoted to the starting job last August if IK Enemkpali hadn’t broken Geno’s jaw over a $600 debt. Of course, Geno should know better than to anger a 250-pound linebacker, but perhaps he’s not watching enough Game of Thrones. Let’s hope the two are on good terms when Enemkpali’s Bills welcome the Jets to town in Week 2.
2. Win over the new guys.
Veterans like Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall seem to be in Fitzpatrick’s corner, and that’s not going to change. Experienced wideouts usually don’t bail on a quarterback they like. Geno should focus his efforts on brainwashing the Jets rookies into supporting him. Christian Hackenberg could be an easy ally, given all the time they spend together in the quarterbacks room, and securing the trust of rookie wideout Charone Peake could prove vital. Little by little, Geno can build up a formidable following in the locker room.
3. Say as little as possible to the press.
When it comes to press conferences, silence is power, and candor is a sign of insecurity. So why did Geno “bridle” on Wednesday when the media asked about the Fitzpatrick drama? Just give an impassive non-answer, dude. The coaches will love you for it, and the reporters will eventually leave you alone. And you won’t make the mistake of putting impossibly high expectations on yourself.
4. Subtweet like there’s no tomorrow.
LeBron has mastered the art of the athlete subtweet, and Geno needs to take a page out of his playbook. Imagine how Fitzpatrick would feel if Geno posted something like this: “A Harvard education can’t buy you friends! Just my thoughts.” He’d be totally humiliated and devastated. Promotional blarney like this isn’t getting the job done.
5. Grow a majestic beard.
While this is rock-solid advice for any situation in life, it especially applies here. Geno may claim that he’s “wiser” than ever, but it’ll be easier to believe if he grows a Dumbledore-style beard. Plus, this might cause people to mistake him for Fitzpatrick around the facility, which might be the only way he’d ever garner unanimous support from teammates and fans alike.
This piece originally appeared on the May 27, 2016 edition of the Ringer newsletter.