Ryan impressed by Smith's early performance

Smith is putting the 'Diva' title behind him and is beginning to wow Rex Ryan and company with the way he can command an offense.

NFL scouts continue to question quarterback Geno Smith's mental toughness and maturity, and it appears the New York Jets rookie signal-caller is playing with a chip on his shoulder. Smith is determined to prove that he can lead an offensive huddle during his first few days of rookie minicamp with the Jets.

Smith is already impressing Jets coaches by taking the initiative and organizing a meeting with his offensive line.

"Yeah, I think that's great," mentioned Rex Ryan of Smith's planned meeting. "It's interesting, because I thought it was unusual the way he did command the huddle." "That was pretty impressive. And the fact that he's already telling the guys (instructions), that's pretty sharp."

Smith is showing the organization that he belongs in professional football early in his rookie campaign. The national media, on the other hand, still has some reservations.

Smith was projected as surefire first rounder and many believed he was the best quarterback in this year's draft. Apparently NFL front offices did not agree as Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 16 overall pick and Smith fell to the second round.

Smith was in the spotlight during the draft because he reportedly planned to leave after the first round but decided to stay in New York for the second round.

Yahoo! Sports reported that Smith was concentrating on his cell phone during pre draft visits, texting friends and checking Twitter regularly instead of engaging with potential teammates and coaches. This led to Smith garnering the reputation as a diva.

"Maybe I don't know what ‘diva' behavior looks like, but he certainly didn't do it here," Ryan said. "He's a football player that you tell loved the game, very knowledgeable about his system, I never saw that at all."

West Virginia's football squad had a lot of potential last season, yet it finished with a 7-6 record and lost handily in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to Syracuse 38-14.

Two talented receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey (both selected by the St. Louis Rams) were both on the Mountaineers roster. Austin had 1,289 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, and he also contributed to the team with his dynamic speed by participating in the rushing attack and return game. Bailey had a year to remember with 114 receptions for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Mountaineers had a lot of talent, but will be categorized as a team that underachieved.

Smith has been inconsistent with his accuracy and his footwork has often been questioned. The West Virginia standout took a majority of his snaps out of the shot gun formation, something the Jets do not use often. The Green and White are a run-first offense, especially next season because they will have quarterbacks that are still looking proving their worth under center.

"I like the way that Geno (Smith) threw the ball in particular, (it) looked good to me. He can spin it, that's no surprise there," Ryan said after seeing Smith throw the ball for the first time,

Smith has yet to take a snap in the NFL but is already under the microscope. Once training camp gets underway he will be in a three-horse quarterback race with Mark Sanchez and David Garrard. It will interesting to see if the pressure from the New York media and splitting snaps with other quarterbacks will get to the young quarterback's head or if it will make him perform to his potential.

"It's fair for any rookie to take the criticism, no, I'm just kidding," Ryan quipped. "With us, we just go by what we see."

"But for us, we were impressed with Geno and all the other stuff is behind him."

JetsInsider.com Recommended Stories

  • Peyton Manning emerged alone atop yet another category in the NFL record book tonight vs the Niners, as he tossed touchdown #509 under the national spotlight of Sunday Night Football (NBC). (Photo…

  • Former USC and NFL running back LenDale White added tons of drama to what was a relatively quiet Homecoming weekend for the Trojans.

  • Here’s a way to watch football and improve your golf swing at the same time. In your living room (or on the range), practice the one-minute golf swing, as shown in this video. Set the timer on your…

  • Dr. Roto, like many others, can't believe Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (pictured above) passed for over 300 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in the same game. First time that's ever happened…

  • As soon as those winds fall off, get into the stand! I always tell people you can't kill them if you aren't out, but if you want to try and pick an opportune time – this is it.

Up Next