I'm sure some Jets fans are turned off by the headline alone. Memories of glories past in Philadelphia and Atlanta have more optimistic Gang Green backers envisioning that lengthy playoff run that has always seemed to elude Vick. So far, Michael has toed the company line, conceding the starting position to Geno. But any competitor worth his salt is going to want that #1 spot, and with Rex's job potentially on the line if the Jets can't improve on last season's 8-8 finish, it may be hard to resist the temptation to go with the somewhat proven commodity. Let's outline why they shouldn't.
- Vick is injury prone
Even if the Jets chose Michael Vick, his track record shows that they would have to turn to Geno eventually. Since leaving the Falcons, Vick has never started more than 13 games in a season. The last 2 seasons, he's started a total of 17 games. At age 33, he is certainly not going to change his scrambling, improvisational style that leaves him exposed to vicious tackles now. If you're the Jets and you have any belief that Geno could develop in a competent NFL starter, why destroy his confidence by making him the backup when you know deep down you will have to rely on him at some point?
- Geno could be the real deal
While I'm dubious on Geno's potential to be a viable starter, he did show signs down the stretch last season. He finished 3-1 over his last 4 starts, and cut his interceptions down, finishing the year by posting back to back games without a pick for the first time all season. With Smith already signed to a team friendly 4 year contract, it makes sense for the Jets to see what they have in him. If this season is another flop, they know where they stand with him and can spend a high draft choice on a QB. If they give the spot to Vick and are forced to throw Smith in the fire after riding the bench for the first half of the season, they will be no closer to figuring out if he's the player they can go forward with at the position.
- The Jets finally have offensive weapons
Geno apologists can rightfully point to the fact that the team was devoid of any play makers on offense last season. The Jets were relying on a bevy of castoffs at the receiver position and while Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory combined for 1,530 yards, the duo produced a mere 4 rushing TDs, showing very little game breaking talent. Jeremy Kerley was the team's leading receiver, posting 523 yards and 3 TDs. This ranked him 86th in the league, behind Knowshon Moreno, Joique Bell, and Danny Woodhead. When your top wideout can't eclipse the receiving numbers of opposing RBs, that's a problem. Enter Chris Johnson and Eric Decker. While there are huge questions about both of them, namely Johnson's ability to consistently gain chunk yardage and Decker's #1 receiver qualifications, each of them lends an instant credibility to their positions the Jets did not have last year. The Jets also are considered a mortal lock to add another young WR talent in the draft so that teams cannot hone in on Decker.
Simply put, Michael Vick is not going anywhere. If Geno struggles to a 3-6 or 4-5 start, the team can always turn to him. Recent history has shown that Vick cannot be counted for more than a 8 or 9 game stretch. By giving Geno the starting job and ample opportunity to prove himself, it's the best way for the Jets to maximize both assets.