Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

NFL QB Battles: New York Jets a playoff threat with Smith


 

The circus has finally left the New York Jets when it comes to quarterback. Michael Vick brings amazing, but Geno Smith is a real playoff threat. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.

[Part one - Houston Texans have a problem]

 

DAN:

We can’t talk NFL QB battles without taking a long hard look at the New York Jets. A team close to my heart, this debate is personal. I’m not ashamed to say I’m a huge Jets fan. It hasn’t always been easy and I’ve suffered through their long history of ‘promising’ quarterbacks. Chad Pennington was awesome, until he wasn’t. The veteran Vinny Testaverde probably provided my greatest Jets’ season before Mark Sanchez came along and got us way too excited for an ultimately average NFL QB. Where does this all leave the Jets of today? They once again have a promising second year quarterback and a proven veteran. This veteran will even join the hall of fame one day, most likely.

The numbers don’t mean a whole lot in this QB battle, but here are the 2013 stats for Michael Vick and Geno Smith. I also find the odd man out, Matt Simms, to be quite promising. He has the family pedigree and showed leadership on the field. But he isn’t a part of this competition.

Michael Vick – 7 games played, 1200 yds, 5 TDs, 3 INTs
Geno Smith – 16 games played, 3000 yds, 12 TDs, 21 INTs

The numbers don’t mean much because this battle is Geno Smith’s to lose. I saw a lot of poise and growth from Geno last season. But he also made ALL the rookie mistakes, and then some. The New York Jets have positioned themselves for a huge bounce back season. They have dominating offensive and defensive lines and added weapons behind each on both sides of the ball. Their success or failure truly lies on the shoulders of the man under center.

If Michael Vick had avoided injury of late this would not be a debate. But Vick would probably not be on the Jets either. A healthy Michael Vick is a force to be reckoned with. Playing the long game and assuming success upon the team, the savvy move is to save Vick’s legs for the stretch run of the season and playoffs. For that to work, Geno must play well enough to get the Jets in position for such a run. And if he does this, why replace him with Vick at all?

The Jets are in a catch-22, a win/win or lose/lose situation. What’s your football sense tell you about this intense quarterback battle?

 

TODD:

You made the key point in the final paragraph. If this was young, classic Mike Vick that New York was getting, they wouldn’t have gotten him at all.

The only reason he is on the Jets now is because he’s washed up. It’s sad for a man once so promising and, frankly, unstoppable. But his legs are not the same; his arm is losing strength and is just as inaccurate as it’s always been, 2010 notwithstanding. You realize 2010 is the only season of Vick’s career where he completed at least 60 percent of his passes? Accuracy was never his strong suit.

The other skills simply don’t pick up the slack anymore, and an injury is inevitable if he attempts to play every game.

The latter makes your “saving Vick for the stretch run” idea quite interesting. Even if he isn’t elite anymore, he still has an above average arm and powerful legs. But sitting guys to save them isn’t done in the NFL. Vick can’t be Dwyane Wade in this situation. And look how that turned out for Miami in the NBA Finals anyways. Wade was still slogging through the series after resting so much.

So since we know Vick won’t be biding time and be given a start in week 14 through the playoffs, it all comes down to who starts week one. As an impartial observer, I say it has to be Geno Smith for a number of reasons.

Last year, Smith wasn’t given a fair shake at succeeding. Sure, the job was his from day one because of a shady Mark Sanchez injury, but the roster around him didn’t make success likely. That changes this year with added weapons in the backfield and a go-to receiver on the outside.

Smith also started all 16 games as a rookie even though he wasn’t really supposed to. Guys like him, so-so prospects drafted in middle rounds, are supposed to be able to learn on the sidelines for some stretch of time. I don’t think any logical viewer should have predicted even eight wins out of him. That was not how the script for a second-round QB drafted by a team already with a quarterback who had brought them to multiple conference title games is supposed to go.

And Vick is a good backup to have. He’s seasoned and experienced, which can help a young QB if Smith is willing to listen. He’s also an interesting threat to have filling a roster spot. Backup quarterbacks seem to see more time than ever in games these days, especially because of concussion protocol. Vick could come in and change a few contests mid-game hypothetically. I like having that piece off the bench.

But really through all of that, this just comes down to Smith being the better player for this team because Michael Vick isn’t the player he used to be. If Vick plays like it’s 2010 again in the preseason, forget everything I just said. Number one would be behind center week one.
 

[If you missed Part one - The Houston Texans have a problem]

Tags: Geno Smith Michael Vick New York Jets New York Jets Quarterback