Who’ll be New York Jets’ Starting QB – Vick or Geno?

geno-smith-michael-vick-jetsEarlier this month, Michael Vick claimed that the 2014 New York Jets quarterback competition is dead – Geno Smith is the starter. He explained this to NJ.com by telling them that his goal is simply to help Smith get better.

“Geno’s the starting quarterback for that football team,” Vick said. “Ultimately our goal is to try to help Geno become the best quarterback that he can be. Myself and (third-string QB Matt Simms) are all trying to put him in a position where he can get better from year one to year two.” Vick said that he and Smith are friends and added, “I wouldn’t say I’d necessarily be OK with sitting on the bench, but I know what I signed up for.”

This is certainly a nice sentiment from Vick, but in the NFL, teams are short on patience. And the Jets won’t sit through another season where Smith throws 21 interceptions. That said, head coach Rex Ryan has a different take on the matter.

May the Best Man win

geno-smith-jetsNew York took Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft hoping that he could be their quarterback of the future. His rookie campaign was anything but stellar, though, as he garnered just a 35.9 QBR, throwing for 3,046 yards, 12 TD’s, 21 INT’s, 4 fumbles and 6 rushing TD’s. The latter indicates that Smith has potential as a dual threat and he showed promise in his last four starts, boasting a solid 83 QBR.

However, fans didn’t see anything to confirm that Geno is a lock to be New York’s starter this season. And Ryan confirmed that Smith isn’t guaranteed of anything during a recent press conference. “There is competition, no doubt,” Ryan said. “You know I said from day one that I think Geno’s gonna be hard to beat out…and I’ve said that from day one. But I also said that Mike’s gonna have an opportunity to compete and he definitely will.”

Smoke and Mirrors

While Ryan’s words express that there is a competition going on, we should be more inclined to believe Vick. This is a guy who was in a dogfight last year for the starting quarterback role in Philadelphia. Vick ultimately beat out Nick Foles in the offseason to become the starter. However, a hamstring injury sidelined him and gave Foles an opportunity to shine. He ran with this opportunity too, guiding Philly from a rough start to the playoffs.

Vick never once said that he thought Foles would be the starter during the 2013 training camp. But with the Jets, he seems much more confident that Smith is going to be the starting signal caller while he serves as a backup and helps his friend improve.

Friends don’t let Friends play Bad

michael-vick-1While we choose to believe Vick’s words, there’s no guarantee that this is the way things will play out on the field. Despite being 33, Vick is still one of the league’s fastest quarterbacks. Plus, he knows OC Marty Mornhinweg’s system very well since the two spent four years together in Philly.

The immediate advantage of this is that Vick can use his knowledge and understanding of Mornhinweg’s system to help out Smith. However, if the latter continues to struggle, then Vick will no doubt be called upon to take the reigns. The 12-year veteran showed that he still has what it takes to start, posting 1,215 passing yards, 5 TD’s, 3 INT’s, 306 rushing yards and 2 rushing TD’s in a limited season.

Also don’t forget that another non-playoff year could cost Ryan his job. So he won’t hesitate to do what’s best for the Jets from a winning standpoint if they are struggling.

Should the New York Jets draft a QB in 2014?

geno-smith-jetsWhen the New York Jets took Geno Smith with the 39th overall pick this past draft, many thought New York was drafting their quarterback of the future. Sure there were questions regarding Smith’s professionalism and late-season decline at West Virginia. But his talent was evidently enough to warrant an early second-round draft choice.

The buzz around Smith only grew as he beat out a banged-up Mark Sanchez for the starting QB job. The young signal caller fared pretty well in his first game, completing 24-of-38 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown. Smith also showed off his 4.59-forty speed by adding 47 yards on the ground. More importantly, he led New York to an 18-17 win over Tampa Bay.

Since this time, Smith has been up and down, with mostly downs to speak of lately. His statline reads of a quarterback who’d normally be benched by this point: 2,227 passing yards, 8 TD’s and 18 INT’s.

It’s worth mentioning that Smith has also added 178 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. But this isn’t nearly enough to make up for the 18 interceptions that he’s geno-smith-jets-1tossed so far. The last four games have been particularly bad, with Smith throwing for zero touchdowns and 7 INT’s. And if the Jets had a reliable veteran at quarterback this season, you have to wonder if they’d be much better than 5-6.

This might be the question that New York management asks themselves throughout the offseason. Going further, is it already time for the Jets to start thinking about taking another quarterback next year?

It’s certainly too early to completely write Smith off at this point. After all, starting in the NFL as a rookie is an extremely tough task, especially when you’re not a guaranteed franchise savior like Andrew Luck. But if Smith is to truly be the Jets’ QB of the future, he’s going to have to make some significant improvements in accuracy and getting rid of the ball on time.

It doesn’t help the former Mountaineer’s case that the 2014 NFL Draft is loaded with talent at the quarterback position. There are potentially 5-6 signal callers who could be major game-changers at the next level. Fresno State’s Derek Carr, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd lead the seniors, while Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley head up the draft-eligible underclassmen.

geno-smith-jets-2The latter three prospects are virtually guaranteed a first-round selection, while the three seniors could go late in the first round or at some point in the second round. In any case, the Jets are going to have plenty of chances at drafting a good QB, even if they don’t trade up in the 2014 Draft.

Of course, everything is up in the air for New York right now. Geno Smith could suddenly come out and play much better, leading his team to several more wins and instilling some confidence among management. Given that the Jets are still very much alive in the AFC Wild Card race, Smith leading them to the postseason would really boost his stock.

But at the moment, with his 7 interceptions in the last four games, he’s really going to have to show something over the next few weeks. Or the Jets could be welcoming their new QB of the future on the draft podium next spring.