By Max Marcilla
However, the winner of the blame game up to this point has been quarterback Geno Smith, who has gotten off to a rough start to his sophomore season. Despite pleads from the fans to remove Smith from the starting quarterback role in the form of “we want Vick” chants at MetLife Stadium, head coach Rex Ryan seems devoted to Smith.
“I’m confident in Geno. If Geno’s healthy, then he will start.” Ryan told the media, “I’m not gonna replace him. I feel good about Geno, and again, I think he’s gonna get it turned. He’s a tough, resilient young man.”
But the Jets do have another option on the bench, Michael Vick, who is getting paid $2 million this season to back up Smith. Vick lost his starting role in Philadelphia last year to Nick Foles, who recorded a historic touchdown-to-interception ratio last year. That is not to say that Vick was below average. He had just five touchdowns and six turnovers in seven games last season.
The option of starting an injury and turnover prone quarterback in Vick should not even be considered by New York. Yet, Geno Smith should not be handed the franchise quarterback role.
Smith’s first 20 games have resulted in a 9-11 record, a total of 37 turnovers, and a 68.5 quarterback rating. While he has struggled in several of the games, he has shown some signs of being a good quarterback, particularly in late game situations. Nonetheless, the turnovers and lack of consistency at the position where consistency is necessary are reasons why Smith may not be the franchise quarterback the Jets have been looking for since Joe Namath.
|Smith (left) and Vick (right) at training camp.|
To replace Smith with Vick would be pointless. While Smith is struggling and may not be the long-term solution to the Jets long-time problem, there is a chance he may be. In the NFL, there are players who get off to rough starts in their careers, but then find success. Most recently Matthew Stafford. In his rookie year, the Lions quarterback threw 20 interceptions and only 13 touchdowns, but from 2011-13, he’s thrown 90 touchdowns.
There is a chance that Smith can rebound and be a good player, but Vick’s prime is up and it showed when Philadelphia turned to Foles so quickly last season. Inserting Vick in the lineup would only slightly improve the quarterback position, if at all, and kill the progression of Smith.
Back in March, Jet Fuel editor-in-chief Matt Barbato stated that signing Vick was a questionable call by the Jets brain trust. It’s been four games into his Jet career, and all he has done is run an occasional gimmick play, without success.
Geno Smith may not be the franchise quarterback New York had hoped he would be when they drafted him, but to give him a fair chance to progress would have many more benefits than putting in an injury-prone veteran who may not even be an upgrade.