The New York Jets have a new dynamic duo with Michael Vick and Geno Smith. But is Vick truly a mentor and does it matter who ultimately wins the starting quarterback job? Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
In an ironic twist that somehow makes sense, my New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles look to have swapped backup quarterbacks. Michael Vick is now a Jet and it seems the Eagles will sign Mark Sanchez any day/hour now. Uniting Sanchez with Matt Barkley (both former USC quarterbacks) is interesting since Chip Kelly was Oregon’s former football coach (also a Pac12 school), but I want to talk Jets football.
Michael Vick joins the Jets as a backup; perhaps the most famous/infamous backup quarterback in the NFL. An outsider might think the Jets are just repeating the same mistake they made with Tim Tebow two years ago (yes it was only two years), but Vick and Tebow comparisons are unwarranted. Michael Vick is a former superstar with present day abilities that far surpass anything Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez were bringing to the table. I know he’s literally on his last legs, but if you asked me for one mentor for Geno Smith I’d first pick Cam Newton and then Michael Vick.
Now before you start yelling, my mentor selections have everything to do with Geno’s style of play and what I saw out of him last season. I felt like Geno was holding back, succeeding while fighting not to make mistakes. Michael Vick made his career as a risk taker, be it running or zipping a pass where it didn’t belong. I want Geno to adopt that philosophy, to play fearlessly like Michael Vick once did. Geno is fast and has a past first mentality. This is a huge asset!
The flip side to all of this is that Michael Vick may in fact beat out Geno Smith for the starting quarterback job. The team is bolstering its offense and apparently our owner has declared “win now,” once again reminiscent of the entire Tebow era debacle, or the Favre era for that matter. I’m all for winning now, but not at the expense of the next five seasons, unless winning now actually yields a Super Bowl. It could happen, but the likelihood of Michael Vick playing healthy for an entire season is very, very low. I was in favor of having Geno learn from the bench for the start of his rookie year, but to do that at the beginning of his sophomore season seems detrimental to his career long-term.
I’ll let you ring in on Michael Vick, someone who was close to your fantasy football heart, before I tackle the realization that our dominant defensive team has done very little to ensure it stays dominant, in a league that was just won by a dominant defense.
You may have misread Geno Smith as a quarterback. I don’t think he was holding back last season as far as the running game is concerned. He’s just not a running quarterback. He never was in college and barely ran at all his first season in the pros. Because of that, I think the whole idea of Michael Vick coming in as a mentor is misguided. There is also no evidence that Vick wants to come in and teach a young QB. I don’t know of the relationship between Vick and Nick Foles when Foles took over in Philadelphia, but you never heard stories about Foles learning from the veteran quarterback.
However, that doesn’t mean this is a bad move for the New York Jets. In fact, I think bringing Vick in is a great decision, but it has nothing to do with him being the backup. Bringing in Vick is smart because he might still have the talent to start in this league. Injuries and inconsistencies derailed his final Philly season. However, he still put up solid numbers in his limited action. In fact, last year saw Vick throw for the highest yards per pass attempt figure of his career; even higher than in his career year of 2010.
If Michael Vick comes in and wins the starting quarterback job, I think it opens a higher upside of the Jets football team. In addition, even if Vick doesn’t earn the starting role, competition is supposed to bring out the best in players. Geno Smith should raise his own game with the threat of Vick looming over him. Smith dealt with a QB controversy his rookie year with Mark Sanchez, which was sort of decided by Sanchez’s injury and the fact that the team seemed to want Smith to win the job no matter what. Now though, as a second-year player who’s learned the ropes, a QB competition should be healthy for his development.
Of course, if Vick becomes the starter by default because Geno folds under the pressure, then the Jets still learn something from this arrangement: that perhaps their young QB isn’t ready to lead a team after all.
As far as the rest of the roster is concerned, the addition of Eric Decker certainly helps the depleted wide receiver corps, but if the defense takes a step back, is this team going to be any better next season?