EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Following the Jets’ 35-24 preseason loss to the Giants on Friday night, coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Geno Smith — and not Michael Vick — will be the team’s starting quarterback this season.
“He’s done everything that we’ve asked,” Ryan said.
Smith had a solid preseason and took about 80 percent of the snaps with the starters over Vick during training camp, making the announcement a mere formality.
Smith looked every bit like a cool and confident starting quarterback in this one, finishing 9 of 14 for 137 yards, including a 1-yard scoring toss to rookie Jace Amaro.
“This is no slight to Mike Vick, believe me,” Ryan said. “I wanted to come out of this knowing we had two really good quarterbacks that we can win games with, and I know, in my heart, that we have two we can win with.”
Smith was given every opportunity this summer to show he has progressed from a shaky rookie season that ended with three wins in the last four games.
“I think he’s taken off from where he left off,” Ryan said.
Smith, who threw 12 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions last year, was happy to get the official nod from Ryan.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “But nothing’s going to change for me. — I think I did some good things, but I’ve got work to do.”
Vick, who signed in March and immediately labeled Smith the starter, showed he can still make things happen on offense, too. He also threw for a touchdown with the Jets’ starters, and the defense mostly shut down Eli Manning before the Giants’ backups rallied.
Vick replaced Smith to start the second half, and after a rough first series in which he was sacked and then lost a fumble, led an 11-play, 76-yard drive that was capped by a go-ahead 3-yard TD toss to Eric Decker against the Giants’ backups. Vick finished 4 of 5 for 35 yards in his two series against the Giants (4-0).
“I think it’s great for Geno,” Vick said. “I knew the entire time that Geno was going to be the starter, but Geno went out and proved that he’s capable of running this team and putting this team in a position to win.”
And, now comes perhaps the toughest part for Smith: keeping the job. Especially with a still very effective Michael Vick on the sideline, accepting of his backup role but hungry for any chance he gets.
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