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Rex doesn’t get why Geno is taking hits from West Virginia

Arizona Cardinals v New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 02: Head coach Rex Ryan looks on in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on December 2, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Jets defeated the Arizona Cardinals 7-6. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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The talk out of West Virginia that Geno Smith was lacking as a leader during his tenure as the Mountaineers’ quarterback has taken Jets coach Rex Ryan by surprise.

Ryan says he likes what he has seen from Smith, whom the Jets drafted in the second round this year, and Ryan suggested that West Virginia must not be very loyal to its players if Smith is taking shots now that he’s gone.

I’m glad my kid never went there,” Ryan said of West Virginia, via the New York Daily News. “Tell you that much. I don’t get that.”

Smith wasn’t criticized by name by anyone at West Virginia, but multiple players said that last year’s team didn’t have the kind of leadership a football team needs, and West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said that leadership “was a big issue on last year’s team — in a bad way.” That sure sounds like a suggestion that Smith, as the team’s starting quarterback, wasn’t a good enough leader.

And Ryan doesn’t care for that suggestion.

“Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia,” Ryan said. “Sometimes, I don’t know, you have to ask them. I certainly don’t get that.”

What Ryan needs now is for Smith to show that even if he wasn’t a good enough leader in college as a senior, he’s ready to be a leader in the NFL as a rookie.