There’s a quarterback competition going on at New York Jets camp—or so we’re led to believe. The word competition is used quite loosely here.
Incumbent Geno Smith and Michael Vick are said to be battling it out to see who will be taking snaps for gang green come Week 1 versus Oakland. General Manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan can tell us anything they want but what we’re seeing in Cortland tells us all we need to know. The starting job under center for the Jets is Geno’s to lose.
The question I raise here is: fair or foul? Should Ryan and Idzik made this more of an open competition from the start or is it acceptable to give the second year QB Smith every opportunity to win the job? Answer? Fair. We all loved playing Madden with Michael Vick growing up but face it, him starting the season isn’t what’s best for this team.
It’s my view that Smith needs to start under center and the Jets are actually going about this the right way. No disrespect to Vick—I’m on the record before he signed saying it was a smart move. I’m just all-in for finding out exactly what Geno Smith is because it’s not clear yet.
Smith had a wildly inconsistent (and frustrating) rookie season that bordered on unwatchable at times. With that one must take into account the lack of weapons the Jets possessed on that side of the ball. It was a hellish combination that resulted in the most painfully inept offense imaginable.
We don’t know if the Jets future quarterback is on their roster currently but we do know is it’s not Vick. The jury is still out on Geno Smith—that’s why he’s getting the overwhelming majority of first team reps and the chance to display his development.
Even with that, we need to see more from the 23-year old Smith with an improved receiving corps around him featuring Eric Decker and Chris Johnson out of the backfield. Let’s see what the Jets can do on offense with a few weapons on the field. He at least deserves a fair shake; that opportunity to show his development without his unit being overmatched almost every series they play.
Smith has shown up for year two with some experience under his belt, a better supporting cast and confident as ever in his abilities. Smith’s big arm, mobility, self-awareness and confidence are qualities not many possess all of and the potential is there for him to become a very good NFL quarterback physically and mentally.
Even with the struggles, the occasional flashes of brilliance we saw from Geno Smith showed were enough for me to want to see more and helped me understand why Idzik was so high on him coming out of West Virginia.
It’s starting to come natural to Geno—he’s doing less thinking about footwork and reading defenses. It’s more about just focusing on playing quarterback, something fans should be excited to see play out. With mental toughness and array of skills, Geno could be just about ready to take control like a veteran, make the leap he needs to and lead this team to the playoffs.
Let me just say I don’t think of it as the Jets handing Smith the job. If that were the case it wouldn’t matter whether he completely imploded in camp and preseason; the job would be his either way and I really don’t assume that to be true.
The ‘competition’ is obviously slanted in his favor but if Smith gets hurt, falters dramatically or regresses drastically, New York brass knows Vick is waiting in the wings. That’s the reason he was brought here—a $5 million insurance policy. In that event, we should see Vick get a chance to play but the hope for the Jets is it never comes to that.
Vick is here to help mold Smith on and off the field while assisting in the understanding of Marty Monhinweg’s offense, something he’s familiar with. Since day one as a Jet the 34-year old lefty has outwardly embraced the role of mentor while keeping insisting he’s himself in playing shape. He’s even gone far enough to say that this is Geno Smith’s football team.
We know Vick wants to play and believes he still can at an elite level but kudos to him for not turning training camp into another Jets camp media joke show. Worst case scenario is that he’s paid five mil for 2014 to either come in relief or just be the positive influence he’s been in the locker room and help the development of a young quarterback. Besides, don’t count out a situational appearance in the offense for the still fleet-footed vet.
Vick and Smith are both right—this is Geno’s team. It needs to be, at least to start so we can all see what the Jets have here. Who knows, they might need another quarterback come next year’s draft. Or perhaps, they have something right here in No. 7 and 2014 will be a serious coming out party for Geno Smith.