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Todd Bowles: Geno Smith can be a 'good starter'

The Jets' on-again-off-again quarterback from 2015 is still a free agent, having not yet re-signed with the team on which he had his most productive season ever. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that talks had ground to a halt, and they weren't going to pick up any time soon.

The silence from both sides on the matter as training camp approaches is making Jets fans anxious about the team's future. Who blinks first? Is Geno actually the answer? Is the pursuit of happiness a fruitless endeavor?

Jets coach Todd Bowles isn't concerned in the slightest. The soft-spoken second-year skipper is looking forward to another season at the helm in East Rutherford, with or without the bearded Harvard man under center.

"I think Geno can be a good starter, but he's got to prove it in training camp like everybody else," Bowles told the New York Daily News. "It's not just about the quarterback position. You got to have a team around that position to play ball, but he's been in the system a year. He has a better grasp of it going into training camp and we'll see what he does."

Smith is entering his fourth year in the league -- his third without a broken jaw -- but has yet to silence his many detractors. The former West Virginia quarterback is turnover-prone, has accuracy and leadership issues and makes questionable decisions that make MetLife maniacs cringe. Still, Smith has "had the tools" since he was drafted in 2012 and always gets talked up prior to training camp; before he got popped in the face by IK Enemkpali last season, Smith was the favorite to win the starting role over Fitzpatrick.

There is increased urgency at Jets camp to make the right move at the quarterback position. The team was three fourth-quarter Fitz picks from barnstorming the postseason in 2015, the closest the Jets have come to January football in five years. New York will return one of the most feared defensive lines in the league, complete with a newly-inked Muhammad Wilkerson, and the top receiving duo in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Gang Green also replaced Chris Ivory with Matt Forte, an older, but more versatile back that will help either quarterback in the short game.

In other words...

"It's a win-now every year," Bowles added. "You don't have a rebuilding year. You just reload. It's a win-now every year whether they're old or young. You don't get many chances to go back (to the playoffs). Barry Sanders played a long time before he ever had a chance to get to the playoffs. So you try to win every year. Just reload and get the pieces and try to get better than the year before."

The pressure's on in New York, even if Bowles isn't feeling it ("I don't feel any pressure. I do what I always do. I coach football"). Whether Fitzpatrick signs back in the training camp or the Jets feel comfortable enough in their collective soul to take another ride on the Genocoaster, it'll be interesting to see who throws the first punch. Can't wait.

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