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.

Michael Vick with New York Jets – Is DeSean Jackson following Him?

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia EaglesThe New York Jets have already made some big moves this offseason. They dumped polarizing quarterback Mark Sanchez and his bloated contract after the five-year veteran and four-year starter failed to play a single snap in 2013. Drafted fifth overall in 2009, following a stellar career at USC, Sanchez failed to put up the numbers of a true franchise QB, ending his Jets career with 12,092 passing yards, 68 TD’s, 69 interceptions and just a 71.7 passer rating. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the 2013 preseason, which ultimately ended his Jets career.

New York certainly didn’t waste any time in signing a new quarterback to fill Sanchez’s spot. They inked a one-year deal with Michael Vick that is said to be worth $5 million. Vick led off our list of top 2014 free agent quarterbacks, so we’re not surprised to see him land with a team where he’s got a legitimate shot at the starting job.

Another reason why this isn’t surprising is because his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, Marty Mornhinweg, is now the OC in New York. Mornhinweg is as pumped as anybody to have the duel-threat quarterback aboard as he stated the following:

We are excited to acquire Michael Vick. He’s a great talent who’s won many games, including playoff games, in this league. He has the respect of both his teammates and opponents. He’s here in a role where he’s going to compete and push Geno Smith to become the very best that he can be. Michael will be able to go in and play at a high level and a winning level if called upon.

michael-vickOver his 11-year career, Vick has proven to be a much better option that Sanchez ever was for the Jets. He’s thrown for 21,489 yards, 128 TD’s and 85 INT’s, generating an 80.9 passer rating. What really makes Vick special for a quarterback is what he’s done with his feet, rushing for 5,857 yards and 36 touchdowns. He’s the only player in NFL history to pass for 20,000 yards and rush for 5,000 yards.

But Vick certainly doesn’t come without his drawbacks. The 33-year-old is still faster than most QB’s in the league, but he’s also years removed from the 4.33 forty-yard dash that he ran at the 2001 NFL Combine. More worrisome than a slight loss in speed is how injury prone the former Eagles QB is. Since winning the starting job in Philadelphia in 2010, he never missed fewer than three games in a season. Last year was especially bad as Vick played in just seven games due to a hamstring injury.

If Vick could stay healthy, there’s chance he could unseat Geno Smith as New York’s starting QB. Smith started his rookie year and put up fairly poor numbers, throwing for 3,046 yards, 12 touchdowns and 21 INT’s. Now that Vick is in town, Smith will have to improve if he wants to start in his second year. It doesn’t help matters that Smith (4.78 forty) is slower than Vick, which is significant because Mornhinweg encourages the QB to run in his offense.

Interestingly enough, Vick is already campaigning for DeSean Jackson to join him in New York. Jackson’s attitude has worn thin in Philly, and he’s due to make $10.5 million next season. So the Eagles are actively shopping the 27-year-old receiver, who’s coming of a career year where he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. So far, the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have all shown interest in the 5’10” speedster.

desean-jackson-jetsYou have to figure that with Vick already in management’s ear, the receiver-needy Jets will show some interest. New York’s top pass catcher last year was Jeremy Kerley, who grabbed 43 balls for 523 yards and three TD’s. This is a team that could really use a dynamic playmaker with speed in the receiving core. And Jackson, who runs a 4.35 forty, definitely fits this description.

But is this enough to convince New York to put up with everything that comes along with Jackson? Furthermore, is he worth the third-round asking price that Philadelphia wants and a $10.5 million salary? There’s little question that Jackson could create more headaches for Jets coach Rex Ryan. But then again, it can’t be half as bad as the headaches that a rookie quarterback throwing 21 interceptions or a punchless offense causes. That said, don’t be surprised if the Jets make a play for Jackson.