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Rex Ryan won't commit to Geno Smith beyond opener

Geno Smith will be the New York Jets' starting quarterback in Week 1. Rex Ryan won't say where the team will go beyond that.

"Our focus is strictly on this game," Ryan said Wednesday from Florham Park, N.J. "We're not thinking past Tampa, I can tell you that much. This whole team is not thinking past Tampa in anything. We have a big challenge in front of us. We understand that, and that's where the focus is."

Ryan ended any speculation Sanchez's shoulder injury would lead a short-term injured reserve designation, saying the veteran "100 percent will be on the active roster." He added that Matt Simms will serve as Smith's backup against the Buccaneers.

Ryan said the entire team is confident in Smith as the quarterback, despite his substantial struggles in his most recent game action against the New York Giants.

"You realize that as a team, rookie quarterback and all that is certainly a challenge," Ryan said. "The fact we're playing Darrelle Revis and those two stud safeties and all that, it's going to be challenging. But I think our guys are ready to rally behind Geno."

The questioning cycled back to the Jets' long-term quarterback plans. Ryan wouldn't budge, though he did make a playful reference to his most infamous press conference.

"I'm not going to turn sideways, I can tell you that much, but that question seems familiar to me," Ryan said, drawing laughs. "In all honesty, like we said before, that clearly our focus is strictly on Tampa and we're not looking past Tampa. It doesn't make sense for us to look past Tampa."

Ryan certainly hopes Smith seizes the job, but he's keeping the door open for Sanchez's return if the rookie falters. This would make sense for any coach, but it's especially logical for Ryan -- a coach who knows he won't survive if he's forced to endure growing pains with a rookie for 16 weeks.


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