Sports

Up and down, but so far, so good for unflappable Jets rookie QB Geno Smith

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

    New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)  (The Associated Press)

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith celebrates after the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Atlanta. The New York Jets won 30-28. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith celebrates after the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Atlanta. The New York Jets won 30-28. (AP Photo/David Goldman)  (The Associated Press)

Geno Smith has been up and down during his first five NFL starts, but the New York Jets rookie's performance Monday night at Atlanta was the stuff franchise quarterbacks are made of.

With Mark Sanchez out for the season, Smith is the clear starter — and, maybe for good. Even if neither he nor coach Rex Ryan acknowledge that's the case. Smith says he's approaching the starting job on "a day-to-day basis," and through it all, he has been even-keeled. Smith says he can't remember the last time he felt nervous on a football field.

That confident approach helped on Monday night, when he led the Jets on a winning drive with less than 2 minutes left as New York came away with a stunning 30-28 victory.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org