The everlasting quarterback controversy encircling the New York Jets continued Thursday when Rex Ryan discussed Geno Smith and Michael Vick.
[Geno Smith] knows the offense inside and out. This young man is going to be very hard to beat out. Even as talented a player as Mike Vick is, I think Geno Smith has made that big a stride.”
Although the Jets will try remain unbiased in their quarterback decision, they continue to drop hints that Geno Smith will be the Week 1 starter. Just recently Michael Vick stated that Geno Smith is the Jets’ starting quarterback, further adding to the belief that Geno will start Week 1.
However, the New York Jets definitely brought in Vick for a reason. Was it to compete with Geno Smith for the starting job and possibly light a fire under Geno, or was it to serve as a backup and simply mentor the young quarterback? Rex Ryan needs to be very careful with how he addresses this issue.
Back in the Mark Sanchez Era, the Jets failed to provide any type of competition for Sánchez whatsoever, meaning there was no one to contest his job. The most formidable threat to Sanchez’s job was backup Mark Brunell, so essentially the job was always Sanchez’s.
Unfortunately, all of us know how this turned out. After succeeding behind a great defense and rushing attack for his first two seasons, Sanchez went on a downward spiral. This concluded with a career low 25.8 QBR, and 18 interceptions for the second year in a row. The Jets have to ensure that this does not happen to Geno Smith.
By bringing in Michael Vick, the Jets hoped that Geno Smith would learn from him and improve his game with the evident threat of losing his job to Vick a possibility. Although Vick’s experience and talent might be enough to make him slightly better than Geno Smith, it is still crucial that the second year quarterback wins the starting role.
Why Geno Smith must win the starting job:
By drafting Geno in the early 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jets set him up to be their long term quarterback of the future. If they were to give up on him after just one year, it would show lack of stability and faith in their coaching staff to develop the young quarterback.
Last year, Geno had one of the most bipolar seasons a rookie can have. Smith showed flashes of greatness early by throwing for 199 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs and an 80% completion percentage in a Week 5 game against the Falcons. He also played well towards the end of the season, having a phenomenal game in Week 16 in which he threw for 214 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and a QBR of 83.1.
Although Geno Smith showed his inconsistencies and troubles during the middle of the season, his flashes of greatness showed that with proper coaching and weapons to throw to he can in fact succeed. The Jets have brought in weapons in the form of Eric Decker, Jace Amaro, Jalen Saunders, and Shaq Evans.
Now that Geno is surrounded with legitimate weapons to throw to that aren’t merely limited to Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley, Smith might be able to excel in the NFL just as he did at the collegiate level for West Virginia. To give up on him now would mean that he never had a chance to fully prove himself, and his ceiling is as high as ever now that he has quality receivers.
To maximize production, the Jets would need Vick to give Geno a run for his money, that way Smith will need to work harder and play better to maintain his job. However, Geno Smith must still win the job so that he believes the organization still has faith in him. This would result in Geno Smith being comfortable on the field, and along with Vick’s mentoring Geno could far exceed expectations in 2014