The debate is beginning to heat up, even though it’s probably going to be moot by November, maybe even October. Who’ll start at quarterback this season for the New York Jets? Will it be the talented but flawed youngster, Geno Smith? Or will it be the talented but flawed veteran, Michael Vick?
One has upside, simply because he can’t get much worse than he was as a rookie and is only 23 years old. But the other has won playoff games in this league and could provide an ideal stopgap. Problem with him? He’s a turnover-prone, injury-prone soon-to-be-34-year-old.
The reality, though, which I alluded to above, is that neither quarterback should be expected to go 16 games in 2014.
That’s something Vick has done only once in 11 NFL seasons. The guy missed 12 of 47 possible starts due to injury between 2010 and 2012 and lost his starting job in 2013 after getting hurt yet again. He’s dealt with everything from pulled hamstrings to concussions to broken ribs to broken fingers to banged up quads, knees and shoulders. The fact is he takes to many hits, and it’d be silly to think he has the ability to change his style of play this late in his career.
Smith isn’t necessarily an injury waiting to happen, but he still dealt with ankle and wrist problems in 2013. The real issue with him is the Jets won’t likely be able to rely on the guy throughout the year. Vick’s being given big money, so as soon as Smith begins to struggle, you can bet that Rex Ryan and Co. will make a change.
Smith was easily the league’s lowest-rated qualifying passer last year with a rating of 66.5. He was intercepted on 4.7 percent of his passes, which ranked second-last in football, and he was one of only three qualifying quarterbacks with a sub-56.0 completion percentage.
Simply put, he was terrible. And he’ll be put through the wringer early as a sophomore. He faces Green Bay’s strong pass rush at Lambeau in Week 2, has to deal with the Bears the next week in prime time and will face Denver, Kansas City and Pittsburgh before a Week 11 bye.
The odds just aren’t in his favor, especially with a lack of support in the receiving corps.
So expect to see Vick. Until he inevitably starts coughing the ball up and/or suffering injuries. Only two quarterbacks had more combined interceptions and fumbles per game the last three years than Vick, but Smith’s 2013 rate of 1.81 would have ranked second on that list had he thrown enough passes to qualify.
So they’ll go back and forth between quarterbacks until they’ve missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year and then perhaps we’ll have this meaningless debate again next summer. Hell, maybe there’ll even be some Tom Savage mixed in there, too.