Geno Smith is the new face of the franchise for the New York Jets.
Well, at least for the opening game of the season.
Beyond that, we’ll see.
The rookie quarterback will start for the Jets in the opener at home Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team finally confirmed Wednesday what had been expected since Mark Sanchez injured his right shoulder in a preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 24.
“They’ll try to rattle my cage,” Smith said of the Buccaneers. “I expect those guys to come out fired up and they want to make a statement. They’ve got a rookie quarterback and they’ll want to hit me and get me off my game, but I expect those things. And I look forward to it.”
But will Greg Schiano’s defense be able to unnerve him?
“No,” Smith said with a confident smile.
Smith, who had an up-and-down preseason, was the team’s second-round draft pick out of West Virginia after he was projected by many to be selected early in the opening round. After Smith threw three interceptions and took a safety in three-plus quarters against the Giants, it was widely assumed Sanchez had won the job. But Rex Ryan chose to put Sanchez in the game in the fourth quarter — and he suffered the injury that could sideline him several weeks.
Despite announcing Smith as the starter for this week, Ryan wouldn’t commit to him as the long-term guy.
Aldon Smith named in suit
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and former Niners tight end Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit by a Northern California man who said he was shot during a party at Smith’s house.
In the suit filed Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, an attorney for Ronndale Esporlas claims that Smith and Walker fired weapons illegally during a party at Smith’s San Jose home on June 29, 2012.
The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith, 23, and Walker, 29 were allegedly intoxicated on Smith’s balcony when they later fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said.
Kleczek said they then moved to the driveway where he alleged more shots were fired. Esporlas, 21, was shot twice in the leg while he was allegedly “caught in the crossfire between the two groups of people firing gunshots at each other,” the lawsuit said.
Raiders keep starter quiet
The Indianapolis Colts come into the season opener with a proven quarterback, a playoff pedigree and the home-field advantage over the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders are hoping the element of surprise will be enough to overcome those hurdles.
Coach Dennis Allen is refusing to name his starting quarterback for “competitive” reasons even though all signs point to Terrelle Pryor getting that call over Matt Flynn on Sunday in Indianapolis.
“I’m preparing like I always do, like I will be the starter,” Pryor said.
The San Francisco Chronicle and NFL.com reported Monday that Pryor would start. He has opened practice with the first-team offense this week and has been getting plenty of work with the starters in a clear sign that he will be the No. 1 quarterback Sunday.
But Allen wants to wait until Sunday to make an official announcement in hopes of making the Colts prepare for two quarterbacks.
Rams waive Dunbar
The St. Louis Rams waived outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar rather than wait for the second-leading tackler from last season to serve a four-game suspension to open the season.
But coach Jeff Fisher said after practice Wednesday that there’s always a chance the Rams could re-sign Dunbar.
“Well, we haven’t said this is it as far as his future’s concerned here, but we felt it was in the best interest of the organization right now,” Fisher said. “Of course, there’s a good possibility. Anything’s possible.”
For now, Fisher said it’s in the “best interest of the organization” to move on.