By Kristian Dyer
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When the New York Jets announced on Wednesday their latest “organizational decision,” starting Geno Smith and not Michael Vick on Monday night against the Miami Dolphins, the move was just the latest example of massive inconsistencies coming out of their front office.
Despite what was anything but a good outing against the Bills in Detroit, Vick continues to be the best option under center for the Jets. And one dud performance in a game where no one showed up in green and white doesn’t overshadow what he’s done since becoming the starter.
But more than that, Vick should be afforded the same opportunity as given to Smith in Week 5. The second-year signal-caller was benched in the second half of a 31-0 loss to the Chargers in San Diego. Smith was allowed to start the following week against the Denver Broncos at home, and then the week after that at the New England Patriots, before he self-destructed in the first half against the Bills at home and went into seclusion.
Despite the limited sample size, Vick has done far more than Smith with the Jets’ offense this season and, as a result, deserves the same respect and courtesy next week against the Dolphins.
There’s no denying that Vick’s numbers in the 38-3 loss to the Bills on Monday night were bad. In fact, they were some of the worst of his career. He was benched in the second half in favor of Smith. But while Smith was effective, he did it during an extended period of garbage time. The Bills weren’t nearly as aggressive as they were when Vick was in, dialing down the pressure with a huge lead.
Much like earlier this season when Smith was given multiple chances to right the offense, Vick deserves the same chance.
The Jets threw around terms on Wednesday like “best for the team” and that they want to see “how far he’s come” in an effort to justify starting Smith. But all of it just reeked of this organization’s desire to push Smith, who was picked in the second round in last year’s draft pick Idzik, as the starter.
Vick’s numbers since taking over the starting role were more indicative of what he is than his poor showing on Monday night.
In games against the Chiefs and Steelers, Vick produced the Jets’ two highest quarterback ratings since Week 5 of last season, along the way keeping the team competitive in Kansas City before leading a shocking upset of Pittsburgh at home.
What Vick brings is a veteran’s poise and presence, something that was evident in Weeks 9 and 10. In a game where everything went wrong on both sides of the ball, as was the case Monday night in Detroit, it is hard to judge a quarterback, let alone bench him.
In my opinion, it also isn’t the time to rush Smith back onto the field as a starter. His best place right now is to watch, learn and develop. Benching Vick after one rough start also sends Smith the message that he is the anointed one. If the Jets were willing to give Smith such leniency despite subpar performance after subpar performance, then Vick, who has a far superior résumé of success, must be allowed to redeem his season.
This isn’t the first low point of Vick’s time in the NFL and it likely won’t be the last. He’s proven in a career that includes four Pro Bowls and playoff success that he can lead a team. Smith has proven nothing, yet is assumed to be the better option.
And he has been given far more slack than Vick, without better results. Now, if that’s an “organizational decision,” the Jets have real problems.
Kristian R. Dyer is the Jets beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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