As we enter the dog days of NFL summer, plenty of quarterback situations remain unsolved. Going into training camp, everyone will be curious to see if Johnny Manziel wins the Cleveland Browns’ starting job; if the Jacksonville Jaguars keep their promise of having Blake Bortles man a clipboard for a season; and whether incumbent Mike Glennon can keep the suddenly-hot QB commodity Josh McCown from unseating him in Tampa Bay.
Yet when it comes to quarterbacks, the New York Jets always manage to steal the spotlight.
For a while, I was very comfortable writing that the Jets had no quarterback competition, that Michael Vick was content being a mentor and a backup to Geno Smith. Now, it seems nobody in the organization knows whether it’s a quarterback competition or not – not even Vick himself.
A lot was said about Vick and Smith last week. Lets’ review:
Vick to NJ.com May 22: “Going through the competition with Nick [Foles with the Philadelphia Eagles last year], we knew, both of us coming in, that it was open competition, and that the best guy was going to win the job. That’s what it was. It was pretty much cut and dry. But this situation [in New York], it’s different. It’s kind of unique. Even though it’s not an open competition, we’re both competing every day.”
Head coach Rex Ryan on WFAN radio: “I just think first off, you’ve got a proven guy obviously, a tremendous quarterback in his own right [in Vick]. I think it’s gonna be good competition for Geno. I think they’re both gonna push each other, and I think it’s gonna be good at the end of the day for Geno to have somebody with Mike’s experience and the type of competition he’s gonna bring. Clearly, he can get it done. But… as I said before, Geno Smith is gonna be hard to beat out, and I truly believe that. For just seeing him throwing the ball around here, he’s a got a much better understanding of what we want from that position. He knows the offense forwards and backwards, and he is really throwing the football well.”
Vick, again, to the New York Daily News last Thursday: “I just feel like I can help any football team, any organization, particularly this football team, get to a Super Bowl. It’s tough at this stage of my career because I still feel like I’m a fairly young player and I can still keep up. People make it seem like I’m getting older and things are not the same. I beg to differ.”
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to NJ.com last Thursday: “There is competition. Now, it may not quite be like the competition we had last year where everything was 50-50… We’re trying to continue the progression with Geno, and then have Mike ready to go. It’s just that simple, and Mike knows the exact expectations and roles that he has, and Geno knows the exact expectations.”
Rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd to NFL.com’s Around the League: “Geno has been pretty much … he’s been the offense. You know, right now, it’s his team. But, I mean, at the end of the day, you want to go out there and do everything that’s possible to win.”
Can we glean anything from this mish-mosh of ideas? I think all we can say for certain is that Geno Smith is the favorite to win the job, Vick is in the mix and, most of all, the organization is treading lightly to avoid a new media firestorm – even if not everyone is on the same page.
Who do you want to be the Jets’ starter Week One? Vick? Smith? Tajh Boyd or Matt Simms, maybe? Tell us in the comment section!
News and Notes: Jets fan Jake Hendrickson wants to blast the “Butt Fumble” jersey into outer space. The California native won the jersey Mark Sanchez wore during the infamous blooper play for $820 on the NFL Auction website. Hendrickson seems to feel safe knowing this symbolic artifact of football mockery is locked up in his own house. “For now I’ll probably just frame it up real nice and put it on my wall,” Hendrickson said, “until we win a Super Bowl or I can get together enough money to put it on a rocket ship and shoot it to outer space, because I don’t think it belongs on this planet anymore.”