As New York Jets fans vociferously call for quarterback Geno Smith to be replaced by Michael Vick, the team themselves are standing behind the sophomore signal caller.
The team’s owner, Woody Johnson, has spoken out in support of Smith, claiming the former Western Virginia star can still be a franchise player that the Jets build around for the future.
“I think Geno can be a franchise quarterback, I really do,” Johnson told reporters Thursday before practice according to ESPN New York. “I see traits in him — we all see traits in him — that are extremely positive. There’s room for a lot of optimism.”
Johnson went on to put the fault for the 1-3 start at the feet of the whole team, rather than just the second round pick in the 2013 draft.
"I think the team and the coaches, they've fallen short, that's for sure, but they've been in every game," Johnson said. "It's either glass half-full or glass half-empty. You can see signs of being a good team and a winning team, except for the one or two mistakes we make in each game. If we eliminate those, I think we'll be good."
However Johnson did criticise Smith for something, swearing at a Jets fan after the loss to the Detroit Lions last weekend. Johnson called Smith's actions "completely unacceptable" and that he would definitely be speaking to him about it.
The Jets owner isn't the only one to give backing to the under-performing Smith. Head coach Rex Ryan came out in defense of his man earlier this week.
"I'm confident in Geno. If Geno's healthy, then Geno Smith will start," Ryan said after the loss to the Lions. "I'm not gonna replace him. I feel good about Geno, and again, I think he's gonna get it turned. He's a tough, resilient young man, and I think we're gonna win."
Smith has thrown for 922 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions so far this season and faces off against a San Diego Chargers that has surprised everyone with how well they've been playing this season, in the 5th round of fixtures this weekend.