By now, nothing surprises Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith. He deflects trouble with a faint smile and a nod. He takes solace in the relationships he’s building around the locker room, and he buries himself in a playbook binder and drill "dictionary" provided by quarterbacks coach David Lee. Other quarterbacks can attest: It is literally the size of a dictionary. Through a series of text messages and conversations with Peyton Manning and teammates of Tom Brady, Smith has learned that the most important part of his first year in the NFL is to develop a routine. That’s what eliminates the unexpected. Wake up at the same time every day, and go to sleep when your body tells you to. Study at the same time, eat breakfast at the same time and fill the voids with more football. "They’re sticklers for what they do," Smith said. "Peyton and Archie (Manning), all those guys told me to stick to that daily routine." Smith aspires to be just like them, so by the time his first mandatory minicamp ended last week, he already had crafted the day in the life of a rookie quarterback into an art form. In a recent post-practice sit-down with The Star-Ledger, Smith outlined his disciplined schedule, giving insight into how far the demands on first-year signal-callers have become. With the rise of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the bar only climbs higher every year. Expectations demand a robotic commitment. "You have to be that detailed to be great," Smith said. LONG DAY BEGINS Smith wakes up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and makes the short, half-mile drive from his hotel to the team’s complex in Florham Park and arrives by 6:15. Sometimes, he rides in with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who stays at the same hotel. Other times, Smith travels with his roommate, rookie guard Will Campbell. He gets breakfast, served at the Jets’ cafeteria, right after his arrival, an hour and 15 minutes before the first meeting starts. Smith uses the time to go over the practice script for the day and prepare himself for the quarterback drills and play cards ahead. If he eats quickly enough, he can get a head start on watching practice from the day before, trying to pick out mistakes. At 7:30, the Jets have their team meeting, where head coach Rex Ryan addresses the entire group. Sometimes there is a speech or message; other times, the gathering immediately dissolves into positional meetings. Smith’s mind is still churning, trying to work ahead and prepare for the relentlessness of Lee. At 8, Smith, Lee, Mark Sanchez, Matt Simms and Greg McElroy head to the meeting room and the giant digital projector, where they further examine the tape from the previous practice. There are likely new sets of plays coming in, and Smith finds himself scribbling every word like a first-year engineering student, afraid to miss the slightest detail that can scramble the equation. Lee is meticulous about Smith’s footwork and can tell by the flight pattern on a ball whether or not there’s an extra hitch in his step, so there is no margin for missteps. "I write every single thing," Smith said. "That’s part of being detailed. On this level, guys move so fast and the reaction time is so quick." The Jets’ offense and its components have been described by Lee as a "whole new world" every day for Smith, who played in an offense with "no similarities whatsoever" to his days at West Virginia.
Geno Smith's daily routine revolves around the details
Newark Star-Ledger | Jun 16