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Jets coaches impressed with how Geno Smith handled year

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 22: Wide receiver David Nelson #86 of the New York Jets celebrates with quarterback Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets after Nelson’s touchdown catch during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

Ron Antonelli

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith was thrown into a tough spot, to say the least.

After overcoming an incumbent quarterback, an internal soap opera and an inconsistent cast of offensive talent, the Jets quarterback has made some impressive strides this year.

Soon, he’ll find out if he’s starting over with a new staff.

He’s come a million miles,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said of Smith, via Rich Cimini of “The young man never flinched.”

Since bottoming out against the Dolphins on Dec. 1, Smith has played perfectly acceptable rookie-level football. The three-game slump that culminated with his halftime benching against the Dolphins notwithstanding, Smith has shown good progress over the course of the year while learning a new offense.

Of course, the Jets coaches admit it wasn’t easy for him, as they threw too many combinations of players his way to settle in at one point, making the slide perhaps inevitable.

“That three-game period will bother me until I die,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said, admitting they were “probably playing too many guys.”

“We almost had to re-start.”

Whether Smith has to this offseason remains to be seen, but he’s at least shown enough to think he’s part of the mix for the starting job next year, depending on what other moves get made around him.