Updates from Thursday, June 19
Darryl Slater of the Star-Ledger provides Geno Smith's perspective on the quarterback competition:
“I don’t see it as my job to lose,” Smith said. “I don’t see it in any way, shape or form as something that I need to be worried about losing, rather than trying to help this team get better and become better myself.”
Updates from Wednesday, June 18
Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday and Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post passed along the scene from the Jets' minicamp where Geno Smith and Michael Vick continue to battle it out for the role of starting quarterback:
Marty expects Geno will get 70-75% of the reps w/ the 1s during TC. ...Adds, his "duty" is to help the young QB develops. #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) June 18, 2014
Michael Vick has been laughably bad again today. Yikes.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) June 18, 2014
Updates from Thursday, May 29
Dom Cosentino of NJ.com has the latest on Vick and Smith's battle:
In a conference call Thursday afternoon with season-ticket holders, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg finally articulated exactly what's going on in terms everyone can understand.
"There is competition," Mornhinweg said. "Now, it may not quite be like the competition we had last year [between Smith and Mark Sanchez], where everything was 50/50. We're trying to continue the progression with Geno, and then have Mike ready to go. It's just that simple, and Mike knows the exact expectations and roles that he has, and Geno knows the exact expectations."
Translation: Smith has the advantage. He's had it all along. He'll be the guy until (and unless) he isn't.
Geno Smith didn't do quite enough to garner a ringing endorsement as the New York Jets' quarterback of the future during his uneven rookie season in 2013. Ahead of the 2014 NFL campaign, the second-round draft pick has legitimate competition in new teammate Michael Vick.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Wednesday that there is indeed a battle brewing for the top spot on the depth chart, per Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday and the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta:
Rex: "I said from Day 1, Geno will be tough to beat...but i also said, Mike's going to have an oppty to compete -- and he will." #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) May 28, 2014
Is there a QB competition? Rex: "There is competition. There's no doubt."— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 28, 2014
ESPN.com's Rich Cimini reported the specifics of what transpired at Jets practice:
Michael Vick, Geno Smith splitting team reps. #nyj— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) May 28, 2014
Recap: Geno Smith 8-for-10, 2 sacks; Michael Vick 3-for-7 (2 drops). Calvin Pryor, Quincy Enunwa sit out. #nyj— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) May 28, 2014
Kimberly Martin of Newsday provides commentary from Vick:
It felt like Vick was given talking points after last week's honest assessment of the #Jets QB competition. ...— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) May 28, 2014
...But when asked point blank if he thinks it's an open competition, Vick replied: "Nah it's not an open competition." #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) May 28, 2014
Peter Botte of the New York Daily News criticized the minutiae surrounding an offseason quarterback controversy at this early stage of OTAs in his analysis:
Then, Geno Smith sneezed. Then, Michael Vick tied his shoe. Then, Rex talked to another coach. Then, the media kept tweeting stuff. #OTAs— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) May 28, 2014
For Vick to supplant the incumbent Smith as the starter, he will need to outperform him by a considerable margin through training camp to justify the move. This is a defining season for Ryan and his staff, though, so the team shouldn't hesitate to play Vick if he offers New York a better chance to win than Smith does.
The No. 7 jersey Vick has worn throughout his career happens to be on Smith's back in New York, so the former No. 1 overall pick opted to use his draft position as his new number. That could also be where Vick ends up in the Jets' QB pecking order come Week 1.
Who should be the Jets' starting QB for 2014?
Both Smith and Vick have shown a penchant for turnovers, but each brings dynamic athleticism and immense arm talent to the position.
During Ryan's entire tenure, he hasn't benefited from having an exceptional QB, having to deal with the likes of Mark Sanchez for the first several years. Even then, the Jets were able to qualify for two straight AFC title games. The team exceeded expectations by going 8-8 last year and overcame 25 turnovers by Smith.
With how stellar New York's defense has been under Ryan, even above-average quarterback play figures to put the Jets prominently in the playoff hunt. That cause will be aided by the organization's efforts to add weapons to the offense, as it brought in receivers Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford, running back Chris Johnson and some key pieces through the 2014 draft, including tight end Jace Amaro.
Whoever takes the reins to open the season between Smith and Vick must focus on ball security. The pieces are in place for this club to contend. It's the perpetual instability at the all-important QB position that leaves the Jets in an ever precarious state: a compromised organization that can't quite catch the perennial powerhouse New England Patriots in the AFC East division.
The Jets have to be hoping Smith beats out the aging, battered veteran Vick. Otherwise, general manager John Idzik may have to resort to finding another young player to groom as the long-term future option.