Geno or Michael?
A year ago the N.Y. Jets started OTAs with a returning Mark Sanchez, and an improbable second round pick, Geno Smith.
Geno had to learn in a hurry if he wanted to unseat Sanchez. He declined Jets West, not to snub Mark as all Jets “experts” wanted to tell us, but to stay back and work out in Florida. He wanted to come in and be ready, Geno wanted to be the starting QB.
Mark Sanchez outplayed Geno in pre-season; no way did he deserve to unseat the returning starter. A dumb decision by Rex gave Smith the inside track to what he was looking for; the starting job was handed to him.
That incident created a huge void on the roster. The Jets had to start a raw rookie, and his backup was even more raw than Geno. The only fear of losing a job for Geno came in the form of fans screaming Matt Simms’ name during games. A rookie QB, as we learned with Sanchez years before, needs to have a veteran that threatens his security. Geno did not have that….he does now!
Michael Vick became available do to the emergence (at least Eagles’ fans hope so) of Nick Foles. Vick in many ways is an older Geno Smith. Strong arm, quick feet, ability to scramble for yards; biggest difference is that Vick would probably rather run than pass, whereas Geno had to be convinced to run, and only finally did late in the season.
Vick’s presence will provide the motivation Geno needs to take the extra step this off-season. Michael will help Geno grow.
So far during the OTAs, Geno has been the #1 QB, and nobody except for Vick is willing to admit that in fact, Geno will be hard to unseat.
Geno’s upside is huge, and year two is very indicative of how he is progressing. We know what Vick can do, and he certainly is not the future. Geno will now have some weapons he lacked in year one. To go along with the WRs and TEs added, he will have the benefit of four proven RBs in Johnson, Ivory, Powell and Goodson. Ivory and Powell are power runners, whereas Johnson and Goodson are finesse runners with great hands out of the backfield. Morty Morninweg has already expressed how happy he is with the playbook knowledge of Geno. That playbook will be expanded this season, and I expect Geno to take a step forward.
Jets will use Vick to battle Geno right up until game 1. Somehow they will find a way to keep four QBs (maybe by putting Boyd on the PUP list. Early in the season a QB needy team will lose their QB, and the Jets will deal Vick for a #3. Geno will become the Jets’ starter for years to come.