As the New York Jets prepare for organized team activities, and then training camp, the spotlight moves to the quarterback position where second year player Geno Smith will be competing with veteran Mike Vick. The Jets as an organization are hoping that Smith continues to develop and plays at a high enough level where he will secure the starting quarterback position. If Geno struggles, then the team has confidence in Mike Vick to take over the offense as he has familiarity with Marty Mornhinweg’s offense.
Throughout his offseason interviews New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has stated that Geno Smith is “going to be tough to beat.” The Jets head coach has avoided using the phrase “open competition”, but it seems like there is a window of opportunity for Mike Vick. If the veteran quarterback comes out in camp and plays light out, things are going to get very interesting.
Vick accepting backup role?
On Wednesday several reports came out stating that Mike Vick was resigned to being the Jets backup quarterback. Some of the headlines included “Vick sounds defeated” or “Has Vick lost his fire?” After reading the transcript of the interviews it seems to be some sensationalized journalism. Take a look at some of these quotes.
On if he can take the starting job from Geno Smith: “I’m wishing the best for Geno. I’m going to help him each and every day. I’m going to help him get better. My thing is when it’s my time to go out there and play I have to be ready when my number’s called and nothing can come in between that. That’s what I’m excited about. That’s what I want.”
On Vick’s current situation: “You always feel like you’re a starter and that’s just the competitive nature in me. Hopefully, that opportunity will come again one day and I just have got to keep working for it. Nothing’s easy in this league like I said before and you’ve got to make sure you grind out each and every day and take no days off. I haven’t taken a day off in the weight room. I haven’t taken a day off outside with our conditioning program, so it’s all business and it’s got to be that way until the last day.”
On Geno having an advantage: “I feel like I can play well anyway. I just believe in myself. I’m confident in my abilities and what I can do. Thank God that I’ve been blessed with unbelievable talent and uncanny skills at the age of 33 to still be able to move the way I do, so I don’t take anything for granted. I just go out there and keep it all in perspective and just try to be the best that I can be.”
Now does this sound like a quarterback that is resigned to being a clipboard holder? The fact of the matter is that Mike Vick is saying all of the right things to the media to avoid unnecessary, distracting headlines. Vick is a savvy veteran that is keeping the focus on the team, which allows a productive work environment in the locker room. I think it is foolish to assume that Mike Vick is embracing a backup role due in large part to the veteran toting the company line.
Vick up to the challenge
When the Jets take the field I think that you are going to see a very motivated Mike Vick competing with Geno Smith. The veteran quarterback has a strong working knowledge of New York’s offense and will make the most out of his opportunity. Vick knows how to win in the NFL and will put a tremendous amount of pressure on Geno. It will be up to the second year player to raise his game and beat out Mike Vick to earn his starting quarterback position. If the Jets stay true to their competition mantra the last man standing will be the opening day starter.