Vinny Testaverde not ready to label Geno Smith a lost cause

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A look at what's happening around and inside the New York Jets:

1. Testaverde knows: Vinny Testaverde can relate to Geno Smith. Testaverde was an interception machine early in his career and was booed out of Tampa Bay, but he found his way to the Jets and thrived, one of the few quarterbacks in the post-Namath era who actually finished with a better reputation than when he arrived. Testaverde always kept a sign in his locker that said: "Mentally tough, physically strong."

Smith hasn't provided many reasons lately to make us believe he has the mental toughness to survive in New York, but he's not a lost cause, according to Testaverde, who told "He's having some growing pains, but it's not all on him. I see, not just as a fan of the Jets, but as a former player who has some knowledge about the game and the position, I see a lot of growth, a lot of improvement in Geno Smith this year. I'm encouraged by him.

"I know everybody is looking at the interceptions. Nobody knows any better than I do about going through the lows, but I see things from him that make me believe he's going to be a really good quarterback. Hopefully, it will be for the Jets."

I asked Testaverde about Smith's missed meeting and the cursing incident. He said he once missed a meeting before a preseason game in Tokyo because he was wiped out by the jet lag and the time change. Did he ever curse a heckling fan? "Never out loud," he said, laughing. "Inside, yeah." He added: "I hate to say this -- and I hope you don't write it as a negative toward Geno -- it just shows a sign of weakness, not being mentally tough. It doesn't matter what town you play in, you have to be mentally tough."

That incident notwithstanding, Testaverde doesn't think Smith is ready for the dumpster. He's in the minority.

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