NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While most of the world is banking on a true quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick in training camp, the Jets have intimated all along that probably won’t be the case.
Sure, they have said Michael Vick can win the job, but it’s looking more and more like he can only do it under extraordinary circumstances.
All you have to do is read between the lines. Head coach Rex Ryan has said repeatedly that Smith will be very difficult to beat — and not necessarily because he’s the superior quarterback. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has intimated as much as well, saying he doesn’t want anything during OTAs or camp to impede Smith’s development.
Earlier this offseason, Vick said he believed Smith was the starter and on Thursday he reiterated that stance, telling reporters during the team’s first official offseason session with the media he’s pretty much resigned to the fact that he will be the backup at least to start the 2014 season. He said the competition he had last season with Nick Foles in Philadelphia was nothing like what he’s dealing with now.
“Going through the competition with Nick, we knew both of us coming in that it was open competition and the best guy was going to win the job,” Vick said. “Pretty much cut and dry. This situation is different. It’s kind of unique. Even though it’s not an open competition, we’re both competing every day.”
But if he’s meant to be a mentor, Vick said he will embrace that challenge as well.
“It’s still tough right now, I’ll admit,” Vick said. “I won’t lie. Because deep down, you always want to be a starter. You always feel like you’re starting. That’s just the competitive nature in me. And hopefully, that opportunity will come again one day and I’ve just got to keep working for it.”
Vick said if the two quarterbacks play to a dead heat in camp, the incumbent will prevail. While he never once said the Jets misled him, the 33-year-old signal-caller said he continues to believe he can still start in the NFL.
“I’m wishing the best for Geno,” Vick said. “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’ve got to be ready when my number’s called. And nothing can come in between that.”
Smith, who threw for 3,046 yards, 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions as a rookie last season, said regardless of how the competition idea appears to have been misinterpreted by fans and many in the media, he will compete in camp as if his job is riding on his performance.
“Mentally, I won’t change,” Smith said. “I’ll compete as if I’m the last guy on the depth chart trying to make this team. I think that’s what makes me better and that’s the way I work, and I’ve always done that. The biggest difference is my familiarity with the offense, knowing my protections, not trying to come in and learn everything on the go.
“Having 16 games under my belt is really going to pay off for me,” Smith added.
He said having Vick, a veteran with more than 21,000 career passing yards and 43 more touchdowns than interceptions, in the picture has already been invaluable.
“I’m just picking his brain. He’s a vet, played in a number of games and has been in this system and thrived,” Smith said.
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