New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will ultimately decide who starts at quarterback for Gang Green in 2014, but one of Michael Vick's former Philadelphia Eagles teammates has an inkling on how the competition will play out.
According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy believes Vick is far superior to second-year man Geno Smith:
Smith had his ups and downs as a rookie last season, but the Jets managed to finish with a respectable .500 record. Even so, New York decided to bring in some competition in the form of Vick, who was signed to a one-year deal worth $5 million.
The investment in Vick is minimal; however, the dividends could be huge.
He has struggled with injuries throughout his career—he's only made it through all 16 games once in 11 seasons—but Vick is still a capable signal-caller when healthy. Though it's been a while, he racked up nearly 3,700 total yards and 30 touchdowns in just 12 starts in 2010.
It is possible that such production has passed him by now that he is 33 years of age (and he'll be 34 once the 2014 season starts), but he is an established guy, while Smith has yet to prove he can be a long-term NFL starter.
"That's the big question, and that's the only thing," McCoy said of Vick's ability to avoid injury. "The thing here was, he didn't lose his job -- he just got hurt and lost his job to injury. But as far as who's the better quarterback, he's way better than Geno Smith. That's obvious."
In addition to that, McCoy lauded his former QB's leadership ability and revealed that Vick was able to restore locker room harmony in the wake of wide receiver Riley Cooper's controversial racial comments.
"He'll definitely be a leader in the locker room," McCoy said. "Who smoothed over a lot of that Riley Cooper incident? Mike Vick, a great player who's been through some negative moments and is now positive about it. He's a great (veteran), and he’ll help the team out in that way."
McCoy's thoughts are somewhat surprising since players generally don't comment on the personnel situations of other teams, but it is tough to argue with his premise. Among those who agree with him is Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com:
The jury is still out on Smith, 23, so it wouldn't be fair to write him off as a failure yet, but Vick has proven to be a productive player when not hampered by injuries.
Vick's capability of staying healthy is obviously a big "if" at this juncture in his career, although it was a risk worth taking for a Jets team that struggled mightily on offense at times in 2013.
McCoy is one of the best and most explosive offensive players in football, so his opinion certainly carries some weight. He obviously feels as though he was positively impacted by Vick's presence, and it says a lot that he continues to go to bat for Vick even though they are no longer teammates.
Vick will have to perform well in training camp and during the preseason in order to prove McCoy right, but he could very well beat out Smith in New York this season.
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