Smith, 6-3 and 221 pounds, was the Jets’ second-round draft choice in 2013, from West Virginia University. He started every game as a rookie, and 13 of the 14 games in which he played the following year. Smith was a reserve the last two seasons, appearing in one game in 2015 and two last season. He started the Jets’ victory against Baltimore on Oct. 23, but tore his ACL in the second quarter, subsequently underwent surgery, and missed the rest of the season.
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Smith’s career totals include 501 completions in 866 pass attempts (57.9 percent) for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. His record as a starter is 12-18.
“Geno has a great, positive attitude, and he’s looking forward to learning and competing in our QB room,” general manager Jerry Reese said.
Smith cited numerous reasons for his excitement about wearing Giants blue.
“I think the opportunity to learn from (quarterbacks) coach (Frank) Cignetti, coach (Ben) McAdoo, and to be alongside Eli (Manning) and learn from him, a two-time Super Bowl champion and, in my opinion, a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Smith said. “I think it will work out tremendously for me. And it’s also an opportunity to be on a real good team, a winning team, get healthy – it’s just a perfect scenario for me. I couldn’t have written it up any better myself.”
If history is an accurate guide, neither Smith nor Johnson will see much action. Since Nov. 21, 2004 – when Eli Manning began his streak of 211 consecutive starts (including playoffs games) – Giants backup quarterbacks have thrown a total of 98 passes. The 2016 season was the fifth during that timeframe in which Manning was the only quarterback to throw passes for the Giants. He joined Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton as the players who threw every one of their team’s passes last season.
“We expect that to continue,” Smith said. “I’m not coming aboard expecting anything else. This is definitely an opportunity for me to learn and to get better.
“I want to carry my notepad around and whatever I see Eli doing, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or off the field, I want to write it down. Because he’s a guy you can model yourself after. If you learn from a guy like that, we can all do a lot better.”
Smith finished the 2016 season on injured reserve, but said his knee is improving.
“Right now, it’s doing great,” he said. “We’re being cautious. But I’m at that stage where I’m feeling healthy enough that I can push it. But I have to be smart about it and not do anything that will cause me setbacks.”
Although he has been relatively inactive the last two seasons, Smith is excited about the future.
“I have tons of good football ahead,” he said. “The key is just staying healthy. If I can just stay healthy, the future is pretty bright. But I just look forward to this year and having an opportunity to get healthy and learn and become a better quarterback.”
After one year with the Jaguars, he was claimed off waivers by the Steelers in 2013. In 2015, he started all 18 regular-season and postseason games, including 16 at right cornerback and two on the left side. Blake established career highs with 74 tackles (62 solo), two interceptions and 11 special teams tackles.
In 2016, he joined the Titans as an unrestricted free agent and played in all 16 games, including a start on Dec. 24 vs. Jacksonville. Blake had 38 tackles (33 solo), five passes defensed and four special teams tackles.
This offseason, the Giants have signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Rhett Ellison, and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, and re-signed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, guard John Jerry, long snapper Zak DeOssie, and Johnson.