There were several points during the New York Jets' MNF defeat to the Miami Dolphins where you couldn't help but be compelled to feel sympathy for under fire quarterback Geno Smith.
The feeling may have arisen for some as you watched the second-year QB reduced to little more than a buffer between center and running back - handing off ball after ball as the Jets opted for a virtual run-only offense.
Or perhaps it was only when you saw Smith's final, fatal passing attempt sail aimlessly into the hands of a Dolphins player to end the game with 0.30 left on the clock that the pangs of sadness hit.
Sad state of affairs
But, if reports today are to be believed, it was the actions of those in charge at Met Life Stadium in the build up to kickoff that show just what a depressing situation has developed in New Jersey.
The announcer at Met Life Stadium, as is customary before the game begins, read aloud the Jets starters for the night. But as he reeled of the franchise's offensive starters there was one name conspicuous by its absence.
There was no roll call for Geno Smith, a fact noted by New York Daily Post's Manish Mehta.
The fear that the sound of Smith's name would be met by resounding boos was apparently the reason behind the omission. A sign of just how little faith those at the franchise really have in the man once seen as the Jets' long-term starter.
Handling a fragile player with kid gloves is one thing, but refusing to utter Geno Smith's name over the loudspeakers in fear of the reaction is hardly the best way to instil confidence in a man looking to reinstate himself as the number one guy.
Yes boos might have been tough to take for Smith, but if he is the type of player that will survive in the NFL he would have been able to take it in his stride and use it as motivation.
Taking no chances
Instead he was left with little doubt in his mind of his reputation within the team's hierarchy. Effectively sneaking into the game through the back door, Smith then proceeded to follow a game plan that effectively nullified any chance of him messing up.
Completing just seven passes for a messily 49 yards as the Jets ran 49 running plays Smith never looked like a starting quarterback - but he also wasn't given much opportunity to do so by those in charge.
Geno Smith may be the starter in New York for now but his treatment come game time shows the reality is anything but.
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