NEW YORK, N.Y. - Geno Smith had one miserable week for the New York Jets.
The struggling quarterback, who was fined by the NFL for cursing at a fan last weekend, missed a team meeting the night before Sunday's 31-0 loss to the San Diego Chargers in which he was benched.
The team said Monday that Smith's absence was an "honest mistake" after the second-year quarterback confused the times for the meeting in San Diego on Saturday night. Smith arrived five to 10 minutes after the meeting ended and reviewed what was discussed with offensive co-ordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach David Lee.
It was the first time Smith had missed a meeting, according to the team. It was uncertain if Smith faced discipline from the Jets.
The New York Daily News first reported Smith's absence early Monday. ESPN New York reported that Smith and a few teammates were late because they didn't make it back in time from a movie.
Smith answered questions, becoming agitated at times, all last week about his job security and calls by some fans and media for Michael Vick to replace him. He's off to a rough start that includes him shouting an expletive at a heckler as he walked off the MetLife Stadium field last Sunday following the Jets' 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. He immediately apologized but was fined $12,000 by the NFL last Friday.
Smith was benched Sunday in favour of Vick after a first half in which he was 4 of 12 for 27 yards with an interception. Vick also struggled, going 8 of 19 for 47 yards as the Jets lost their fourth straight game and were the first team this season to be shut out.
Coach Rex Ryan took the blame for the loss and said Smith will start against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium next Sunday.
"This wasn't on him," Ryan said after the loss in San Diego. "He wasn't the guy out there blocking or blowing assignments or doing whatever. It's not on one player, it's on one individual and that's me. Geno will be our quarterback next week. That's just the way it is."
Smith has started all five games this season. He has six interceptions, four touchdown passes and two lost fumbles. That comes after an up-and-down rookie season in which he had 21 interceptions and 12 TDs while starting all 16 games.
"It was definitely a pathetic showing on my part and I don't think I helped at any part of the game," Smith said. "So what I'm going to do is look myself in the mirror, and I know every guy in the locker room is going to do the same thing and find a way to get better."
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