NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Geno Smith: three points. Michael Vick: seven.
Quarterback controversy for the New York Jets?
Nope. Not even close. OK, well, not yet.
“We’ll just let this thing play out,” coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s our first preseason game. Obviously, we know we have two excellent quarterbacks.”
Make no mistake: The second-year player is still the guy.
Smith led the Jets to a field goal in his two series with the starters in a 13-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night. Vick created a bit of a buzz by leading a touchdown drive with the first-team offense, and showing he can still make plays with his legs.
While the Jets maintain the two are competing, it has been clear it’s Smith’s job to lose — and he did nothing to downgrade his spot on the depth chart. Smith was 4 of 6 for 33 yards — including a drive capped by a 51-yard field goal by Nick Folk — before giving way to Vick.
He also had an impressive Vick-like 10-yard scramble on a read-option.
“I thought Geno played extremely well,” Ryan said. “He had a few throwaways. I thought he did a great job stepping up in the pocket a few times and protecting the ball.”
Smith is taking 75 percent of the first-team snaps during camp. Ryan and the Jets need to know for sure what they’ve got in Smith — or if they need to go back to the drawing board next offseason.
The 34-year-old Vick came out to cheers and led a 14-play drive with the starters that tied it at 10 in the second quarter. It came mostly against the Colts’ defensive backups and was also helped by two 15-yard penalties on Indianapolis.
“To have a 14-play drive, it only builds your confidence,” Vick said.
Vick also got the MetLife Stadium crowd fired up when he took off to his left as the pocket collapsed, avoided a tackle attempt and zipped downfield for 15 yards for a first down.
“He looked great, shoot,” Ryan said with a big smile.
Vick, who ran with the backups in his second drive, finished 3 of 6 for 17 yards and rushed three times for 19 yards.
“I did all right,” he said. “Could’ve been better.”
Both Smith and Vick have had a solid but not spectacular training camp so far. The big thing for Smith is that he appears to have cut back on the debilitating mistakes he made through most of his rookie season. He stared down his receivers many times and also struggled with ball security while committing 25 turnovers.
“I was going through my reads pretty smoothly,” Smith said of his two drives. “A couple of those plays, they got some guys that were free on me and I had to get the ball away. But other than that, the game felt good.”
Vick was signed in March to give the Jets a veteran backup who could push Smith and step in if he falters or is injured. Vick is familiar with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s system from their days together in Philadelphia, so he made for the perfect choice.
While he still believes he could start and star in the NFL, Vick has been saying all the right things — including that Smith is the unquestioned starter. Despite leading the touchdown drive, Vick isn’t anticipating any additional snaps with the first-team offense when practices resume Saturday.
Because of his ability to make plays with his legs, the notion of using Vick in a wildcat-like role is intriguing. Vick, however, isn’t so high on the idea, simply because he believes it disrupts the timing of the quarterback and the offense.
“I think it has to be done at the right time,” he said. “I experienced that in Philadelphia with Donovan (McNabb) at times. You want to go out there and let the quarterback get into a rhythm and not try to do too much. I think that’s doing too much.”
But then, Vick left the door opened a bit for the possibility.
“When the time calls for it,” he said, “then I think the coaches will see fit that that’s put in.”
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