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What New York Jets Signing of Michael Vick Means for Incumbent QB Geno Smith

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, left, talks to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick before a preseason NFL football game in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets signed the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback to a one-year deal Friday, March 21, 2014, and released Mark Sanchez, the one-time face of the franchise.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
Bill Kostroun
Jeremy DawsonContributor IIIApril 6, 2014

With the new league year under way, the New York Jets look to rebound from a mediocre 8-8 season. 2013 was the third year in a row that the Jets have missed the playoffs.

2014 has brought an offseason of change for the team's passing game.  A year ago, the same could have been said when the Jets drafted quarterback Geno Smith in the second round to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting job.

This year, the Jets took things a step further by releasing Mark Sanchez all together. This really showed how no job in the NFL is a lock when just four seasons ago Mark Sanchez led the Jets over both Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in the playoffs.

Mark Sanchez has been released.

— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 21, 2014

 

Almost immediately following the news of Mark Sanchez’s release, the Jets dropped another bomb on us by announcing the signing of the top free agent quarterback, Michael Vick.

Jets gave former Eagles QB Michael Vick a one-year, $5 million deal, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 21, 2014

 

Geno Smith had a rough go during his rookie season. Of all the NFL quarterbacks with a minimum of 270 passing attempts in 2013, Smith had the lowest completion percentage at 55.8 percent. He was also the only quarterback in the NFL to throw more than 400 passes in the season and average less than 200 passing yards per game. Top that off with his 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions and I think it is safe to say that he could use some time to develop.

Michael Vick was only able to play seven games last season with the Philadelphia Eagles due to an injury that brought quarterback Nick Foles into the spotlight. Foles took full advantage of his opportunity and recorded a stat line that featured 27 touchdowns to only two interceptions. His performance was more than enough to push the injury-prone Vick out of the door.

The only time in Michael Vick’s career that he played all 16 games was his final season with the Atlanta Falcons. If you take away that one season, Michael Vick has averaged to start only 11.2 games per year.

The upside to Vick however is his big playmaking ability. Despite his age of 33, he still has the ability to outrun most defenders in the league. He also has developed better pocket presence since his return to the NFL. In Atlanta, Vick completed 53.8 percent of his passes. In Philadelphia that number increased to 59.5 percent.

"We needed to find a guy that was legitimately a guy that could come in and play. I think that's what we did,” Geno Smith said about the Vick signing, according to the Associated Press. Smith also said that he is expecting for Vick to come in and compete.

It is a good thing that Smith understands this because Vick will be doing more than competing. Vick is going to start.

Morry Gash

This however, is going to be best for Geno Smith. There have been many great quarterbacks who did not become great until after backing up established veterans. Tom Brady is a fine example after learning behind Drew Bledsoe, Steve Young behind Joe Montana, Jeff Hostetler behind Phil Simms, Mark Brunell behind Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck behind Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre.

So either learning behind a veteran has proven helpful or Brett Favre just needs to become an NFL QB coach, maybe both.

The Jets have also brought in wide receiver Eric Decker to help the passing game take strides in the right direction. With a year under Michael Vick and some new weapons in his receiving corps, this will be the time that Geno Smith reaches his full potential.

 

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