Rex Ryan was singing Geno Smith’s praises one month after his quarterback’s up-and-down rookie season came to a close.

“There are very few players that grew as much as Geno did,” Ryan said on the streets of Manhattan during a New ERA sponsored event on Friday. “He had to come a million miles… and he did. You saw our team ascending and I think part of that is the way Geno played. Statistically, he had second-highest QB rating the NFL over the last months of the season. That’s something that people don’t focus on. But that’s a fact.”

Despite that praise, Ryan wouldn’t definitively say whether Smith would be the starter heading into training camp.
“We could say it, but with us, you can’t really say with any certainties on anything right now because you’re just starting the offseason,” Ryan said. “You don’t know what your roster is going to be. It’s probably not the best thing to say, ‘Hey, this guy is going to be a starter.’ Let’s let it play out.”

Last year, Ryan said Mark Sanchez would take the first snap of offseason workouts. He didn’t make the same declaration for Smith this year.