To say Geno Smith is chomping at the bit to get back on the field is probably the understatement of the millennium. Smith isn’t the type to want to miss a practice, much a less a game.

That was the case last week as the rookie signal-caller missed Friday night’s game against Jacksonville. He’ll get a chance to show exactly where he is when he starts on Saturday night against the Giants.

Exactly how important is this start for Smith? Rex Ryan said Smith was “brutal” at one point last week. Anytime a coach goes after a player publicly, it can’t be a good thing. But Smith took it in stride and said he is ready to go.

“Sitting on the sideline was probably one of the hardest things I had endure since I’ve been here,” said Smith. “I never expected being out for a game, let alone the second preseason game. But to be out there this week is going to be big for me.”

Smith will get the benefit of a healthy Chris Ivory and most of his receiving core, minus Santonio Holmes. It’s been said all over the place that this game won’t be the ultimate determining factor, but that doesn’t mean Smith has any margin for error. Said Smith: “I just have to go out there and execute, do what I’m told, do what I’m coached to do, go out there [and] run the plays to the best of my ability, make sound reads, be good with my footwork [and] just prove to the coaches and teammates that, hey, I belong here.”

It may not have been said publicly, but Mark Sanchez had a leg up on the job coming into training camp, and he will get every opportunity to win the job. That may not seem fair to Smith, but Ryan needs to have a respectable season to keep his job. Or, at the very least, he needs a not-so-terrible season to set himself up for his next place of employment.

Smith wasn’t about to take the bait when asked if he was behind Sanchez in the quarterback race. Said Smith, “I can’t tell you that. I’m just focusing on myself. Like I said, I try and improve daily and the coaches do the evaluation.”

Sounds like he’s ready.