Mike Vick knows he’s here to help, whatever that might mean

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Do the Jets have an open quarterback competition? Don’t they?

This week, Mike Vick spoke to the press for the first time face-to-face since being signed by the team and a lot of reading between the lines has taken place. While the Jets have stated that there will be a little-c-competition, Vick was quick to shut the door this past week on that little-c-competition being “open” and therefore turning into a big-c-competition.

Michael Vick“Going through the competition with Nick [Foles], we knew, both of us, that it was an open competition; the best guy was going to win the job,” Vick told reporters last Thursday. “This situation is different. It’s kind of unique. Even though it’s not an open competition, we’re both competing every day.”

Vick is saying all the right things, subjecting himself to his coaches, front office and teammates while expressing that he still wishes to play. There’s no upside to him rocking the boat. If he needs to play, he can play, but he knows his place is to make Geno better first. There’s a conflicted duality there for a player who was the first overall pick more than a decade ago, but it is a common refrain for many NFL players as they see the end of their career on the horizon.

Over the next four months, when it comes to the Jets, there will be more ink and pixels dedicated to the Geno Smith / Mike Vick storyline than any other for the sole purpose of grabbing your eyeballs. It would seem that the Jets quarterbacks, coaches and front office staff have agreed that Geno Smith is the team’s top quarterback — even if there will be some level of competition or “pushing” as the team has termed it.

So how did we get to this point?

Free agency began on March 8 with the contract negotiation period, Vick didn’t sign with the Jets until March 22. A full two weeks passed between the time when Vick and his agents could officially talk with teams to find the quarterback a new home and in all that time, Vick didn’t go to a clear-cut landing spot where he could start … be that Oakland, Houston or maybe even Minnesota or Jacksonville, despite clear deficiencies. Instead, there was lots of talk about him staying in Philadelphia or going to San Francisco, both as backups.

Michael_Vick_Eagles (1)Instead, Vick wound up signing with a team that played their rookie quarterback in all 16 games last year despite, as offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg termed it, some “horrendous” offensive efforts. Obviously the team would like to see Geno Smith start all 16 games again in 2014 with less horrendous play, but the team couldn’t stomach taking their chances with the flatlined Mark Sanchez in that second spot.

The team pitched Vick on joining the Jets and on March 22 he came to New York.

On a conference call that day, Vick talked about his role and that of presumptive starter Geno Smith.

“As of right now I’m planning to come in and compete with Geno [Smith],” Vick said during a his introductory call. “I’ll push [Geno] as hard as I can, push him to be the best, try to become the best that I can be … for me it’s all about competing right now and trying to bring the best out of the other quarterbacks.”

Vick was then asked about whether he’d be alright with sitting on the bench for the entire 2014 season.  His answer was telling.

“I wouldn’t say I would necessarily be OK with sitting on the bench all year,” Vick said. “But I know what I signed up for, I know what I came to New York to do. First and foremost I came to compete and be a helping hand for Geno, and he has a long way to go. We both talked. We both agreed we’re going to push one another and make each other better. So whatever happens, happens. And I know what I signed up for. At the end of the day I’ll be content with it.”

Those words sound like those of a player who understood his role as the backup from his first day. They also sound like the words of a longtime starter explaining that he still considers himself a gamer and that he would like the ball in his hands; but that he also understands he came to New York to help the Jets by helping Geno. Whether that entails Vick sitting or playing, he understands he’s here to play a role. That’s the hive mentality that has come over the team since GM John Idzik took charge. Not necessarily a bad thing.

“Everything we do will be an organizational decision,” Rex Ryan told Pro Football Talk back in early April when asked about his quarterbacks. “I’m the guy that ultimately says, ‘this guy is the guy’ or whatever in front of everybody. [But] believe me, it is a collaborative effort. Marty Mornhinweg as our offensive coordinator, great offensive coordinator, [we] will lean heavily on him [and] in my opinion, the best quarterbacks coach in football, David Lee … That decision’s a New York Jet decision and at the appropriate time we’ll make that decision.”

With Mornhinweg being one of those sage voices that coach and general manager will listen to closely, what did Mornhinweg say about his quarterbacks?

In his first interview since the team signed Vick, Morhinweg told reporters shortly before the draft that the Jets signed Vick “for a purpose,” and that the former Eagle has “a really important role here.”

geno-martyAccording to Mornhinweg, that role is: “To compete, to push Geno and to make Geno the very best [Vick] can make [Geno]. I wanted to make sure that Mike was ready for that. I think this thing is going to work beautifully. We’ll see. I would expect Geno to progress at a high rate with Mike’s help.”

Pretty clear, yes? That sounds like a day-to-day manager explaining that Employee Number One’s main job is to help Employee Number Seven. Still, it’s not as if Mornhinweg thinks Vick is over the hill.

“He’s 33-years-old, and he’s still got it,” Mornhinweg said.

While Vick has expressed the desire to start, Mornhinweg knows from his time in Philly that Vick can swallow his pride and help out his teammate this summer, no matter what.

“Mike’s going to handle [playing behind Geno] real well,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s going to do the right thing. If he’s called upon to play and when he’s called upon to play, I expect Mike Vick to play at a real high level.”

While Vick seemed the subject of much of the interviewers’ interest, Mornhinweg answered questions about his starter too.

While Smith struggled through his first 12 games, Mornhinweg was buoyed by his December play, saying that Smith played “at a real high level,” by limiting his turnovers in the final four games, with no interceptions in the last two.

“He progressed beautifully in the last quarter of the season,” Mornhinweg said. “Geno is in the middle of a progression. He’s a fine young quarterback.”

Coach Rex Ryan agrees based on what he saw at the end of 2013.

“Geno Smith is going to be hard to beat out,” Ryan said two weeks ago on WFAN with Mike Francesa. “He knows the offense forward and backwards.”

While Smith may be difficult to beat out, Ryan did say that that Vick “definitely” has a shot to win the job in the preseason. So how would such a thing happen?

table-g-t

The Jets have struggled in recent years with holding onto the football.

“We have to protect the football better, first and foremost,” Rex Ryan said last November after Smith’s four turnover implosion against the Bills. While Smith had a few games he didn’t finish, the team stayed with him and had the benefit of seeing his turning the corner a few weeks later.

Still, offensive turnovers have plagued Rex’s last three seasons with New York. Granted the team’s defensive turnovers have been down, but Mark Sanchez’s play almost dragged one of the greatest defensive minds in football down with him. Among other things, offensive turnovers have been one of the team’s biggest undoings in the last three seasons.

So, while all signs point to the Jets letting Geno start this September, the one way that doesn’t happen is if he can’t protect the football accordingly. But thanks to the front office’s big picture thinking, the team has a veteran gamer should it  come to that.

But if it does, it is only because the Mike Vick did everything he could to help the guy ahead of him first.




72 comments
harvlis
harvlis

I don't believe that this is Geno's team and Vick will just come in to support him. The coaches would be crazy, if they didn't go with the best man for the job.  If it proves to be Geno, great.  If Vick looks much better -- "you play to win the game".  If Geno has to learn behind Vick, until this becomes his team, that is not going to be a problem. 

Brendan
Brendan

Thank god OTAs start today. 

kniff
kniff

All the chatter in recent weeks leads me to believe that Geno is indeed the starter...the kid now has formidable offensive weapons that even the harshest critics would have to acknowledge...


If the O line can hold up and provide some good pass protection, this kids gonna make your head spin! 

Lets not forget that Geno has wheels AND our running game is ramped up and nothing for opposing Defensive coordinators to sniffle at!!

chicagofan
chicagofan

I really believe - in terms of next season - that Vick gives us the best chance to win.  Geno will hopefully be the long term answer, but a year of learning and spot play would not be a bad thing.  It is clearly my hope that Michael Vick, along with Rex, will write one of the great stories in the NFL this coming season. 

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

Strange that the 21 giveaways in 2010 still ranked us in last place in the afc.

Monty
Monty

Look at you lemmings argue qbr like it wasnt invented by espn less than five years ago. Numbers dont mean a damn thing. Watch the games, trust your eyes.

Geno had some bad games...he also had some amazing games and amazing game winning moments. The only stats matters is he was 8 n 8. He hsd a lot of recievers drop a lot of big balls. When he was dragging dolphins into the enzone tearing up the falcons and beating the pats he looked pretty damn good. Theres nothing wrong with sighning vick as competition. But theres also nothing wromg with saying its genos job to lose.

I think theyre handling it perfectly. He deserves the first snaps he won more games than vick did..then may the better qb win..stop believing statistics. .get somr opinions

juunit
juunit

I'd say the defensive turnovers being cut in half from years past is the real issue. Defense is the bread and butter. Sure, a great offense would be nice, but the defense has to keep getting turnovers because we can't rely on having the offense win games every week. Eventually, maybe.

Pat d
Pat d

The Jets indeed have better weapons then last year but I don't see an explosive offense. All the weapons seem to be short to mid range threats which will create a bit of a log jam.

harold
harold

@chicagofan 


You realize he already had a year of learning.  He is ready to play and we will see what we have.  If we deem him not the answer we will make a move.  I don't see it any other way.

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

@chicagofan

pre-training camp that may actually be true. Let's see how things look well into the preseason.

BDarc23
BDarc23

Geno had some amazing games? Why do you find it necessary to change what really happened? Geno was not good. He threw 12 tds...12. I don't know what you could have possibly been watching to say he had amazing games. He had a few good moments that every QB in the league has. He was no better than Sanchez was the year before.

jetlife
jetlife

@juunit Last year's forced fumbles-fumble recoveries ratio was possibly a statistical anomaly. Cutting down offensive turnovers, in addition to more defensive turnovers will be huge.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@jake100 He performed the way he performed... saying he was good and wanting him to be good doesn't make it true. Does he have potential to be good? yes. Was he good last year? No, he was the lowest rated starting QB in both QBR and passer rating. He was way outperformed by Mike Glennon who has already been replaced.

harold
harold

@Pat d 


Good watch Chris Johnson on his explosive plays.  Not as many as before but more than capable.  Decker had many explosive plays. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

What move are we going to make? Put Vick in to start? Then when Vick gets hurt we do what? Back to Geno?

harold
harold

@BDarc23 


The Atlanta Falcons game was not an amazing game for a rookie QB on the road?  The Bills game was an excellent game for a rookie.  The Browns game he played very well. Ditto for the Dolphins.  Maybe not amazing but pretty darn good.

a57se
a57se

@jetlife @juunit 

The same thing happened to the offense a couple years ago, we lost almost every fumble we had.........those type of years tend to even out.

harold
harold

@BDarc23 @jake100 


He was not the lowest rated in QBR, although it was nothing to write home about.  He did play pretty well.  He played like the team last year.  He had 7 or 8 solid games and 7 or 8 where he crapped the bed.  That was the Jets season for the most part.


However, I think you miss the point when you lend to much credence to bad games by rookies.  Rookies potential lie more in the good than the bad for the most part (although but must be considered).  Now to reach that potential he will need to continue his play from the last 4 games.  However if he plays like that over a full season he would be a borderline Pro Bowl player in year 2. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Pat d Did you know that Eric Decker was 2nd in the entire league in terms of most catches 20 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage?


(DeSean Jackson was first).


Jeff Cumberland was actually 5th among tight ends in the same category.

Pat d
Pat d

All teams have explosive plays, that is not the same as an explosive offense. As far as Decker he had Thomas to stretch the field.

harold
harold

@a57se @harold 


Geno will start the season, of that most should have little doubt. 


Over the top Bold prediction:  Vick may even get traded if Geno looks awesome in the pre-season.


The move in the above reply would be Vick coming in and then us getting a long term QB in the draft.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@harold @BDarc23 You might be right that I am focusing on the negative...probably trying to balance out the overly positive.  I am just trying to understand why we can't just see how he does before annointing him.  I felt the same frustration watching those turnovers and lack of offense last year that I felt the previous 4 years with Sanchez. I set myself up for disappointment 4 straight years with my blind faith that the light would go on for Sanchez so it's going to take a bit more with Geno for me.

harold
harold

@BDarc23 


Who cares what the records of the teams were?  Many QB 's have their best games against bad teams.  That is why they are bad.  Is that news?  But if you don't play well there it is a problem.


Lastly amazing was not my word, but pretty good.  You harp on the bad, I will look at the big picture.  You are taking a wait and see approach with very little forecasting.  That is your choice.  I just think your review of his play is a little cynical and not balanced.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Harold

So one game that you classify as amazing correct? It was a great game for sure. It was also against a team that won 4 games. Browns? 4 wins. Bills? 6 wins. I hope Geno is a great QB. My issue is that some fans (including you) need to pretend that he was already there last year when he was no better than Suckchise the year before.

harold
harold

@Iain Bartholomew @harold @Brendan 


But if you played badly at he beginning of the game and caused your team to be down by missing throws and fumbling the ball you are not penalized very heavily in QB rating.  That is the point, it does not take your total play into account.  The QBR attempts to do this.  That is the difference I was illustrating.


Iain Bartholomew
Iain Bartholomew

@harold @Brendan Statistically 3 TDs, 0 picks in a 28 to 21 win IS THE SAME as 3 garbage time TDs in the 4th quarter of a 49-21 loss.


It's not the responsibility of the stat to provide context. A statistic is a record of what happened, not how or why something happened or how much it mattered.

a57se
a57se

@harold 

Debating styles are annoying, I get that.............

harold
harold

@a57se  @Brendan


It is okay to point to the flaws of either system.  It is the over the top statements that make the argument silly.  Of course you need to have an argument in order to have a debate.


Inflammatory responses do nothing to further the debate.  That is my point.  I hope it is well taken.


Look at his responses they have over the top statements in almost everyone.  It adds little to nothing to the debate.

a57se
a57se

@harold @Brendan 

You are pointing to the flaws in QB rating the same way Brendan is pointing to the flaws in ESPN's QBR........BOTH METRICS SUCK.

The difference is QB rating is transparent....no Oz like mechanism in place.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold


"I literally just said you can't use it without context, stop changing my argument."


was in response to this: 


"Until that is corrected you certainly need to take it off that pedestal you seem to think it occupies."


I don't put it on a pedestal, I just hold it in higher esteem than QBR. 

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


How can I change the context of this statement?


"Which is why I have an issue with a made-for-TV stat being taken seriously when it's just so wildly flawed."


70 QBR is still a very good game.  It not as though they gave him a bad one.


I am not sure how you want to make the extremes the norm.  I think QBR does a better job on average and I stick by it. They clearly need work on the extremes, does that make it bad?


QB rating is flawed because it is simply about stat accumulation.  3 TD's no picks in a 28 to 21 win is the same as 3 garbage time TD's in the 4th quarter of a 49-21 loss. 


If you don't see the issues in that I don't know what to tell you.  Again I don't dump on QB rating yet you feel you must discredit QBR.  Not sure why the extremes are so important to you, but they clearly are.   

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @harold 

That Pryor one takes the cake........whoever gave him that QBR should have had his binky taken away!

Brendan
Brendan

@harold I literally just said you can't use it without context, stop changing my argument. 


QBR is routinely putting out ratings that make you scratch your head. 


Drew Brees 
26/36 332 5 TDs 0 INTs in a 35-17 win, only one of them in the 4th quarter and that last one still had them being only up 11. 146.1 passer Rating, but ESPN has a 70 QBR. Explain. 


Terrelle Pryor 
10/19 88 yards 0 TDs 2 INTs, 9 carries 105 yards 1 TD, 93 of those rushing yards on the first play from scrimmage. So over the next 4 quarters, he accumulated 100 yards exactly, while turning it over twice. His team still managed to win, though. 25.7 Passer Rating, 96.2 QBR


I see the need for a stat to incorporate running into the scope of analyzing QB's, but it QBR doesn't do an accurate enough job in combining the running and passing of a QB. It clearly over-values running a great deal and penalizes QB's for things like YAC, which for a QB like Brees is usually the result of a perfect throw that leads the receiver into open space. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

It had little to do with you.........I was thinking about how anything the Daily News prints is rejected out of hand by us Jets fans and to a lesser extent ESPN (The Cimidiot in particular) and tied that all together with ESPN in general being perceived as Pro Pats and Anti-Jets and out came that post............

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


So do you think ESPN captured Tebow 2011 season more accurately or did the QB rating do it?  (29.2 to 72.1)


You point makes the same point I am making, stats are about your flavor.  You like QB rating. I like QBR better.  I am not dumping on QB rating.  I don't think it is the best measure of a QB play.  It counts garbage time play as though it happened in with the game on the line.  That is a huge flaw.  Until that is corrected you certainly need to take it off that pedestal you seem to think it occupies.

a57se
a57se

@harold 

The problem with QBR to me is that it is NOT a statistic. It is some clown sitting in an ESPN office looking at plays and placing a value judgment on them with ZERO accountability. The whole thing is just someones' opinion.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Than why the mocking tone? And why the strawman argument? 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Haha.....I knew you would take it that way....how sad!

I actually agree with you moreso than Harold about QBR. I also did not name you in my response.........:)

Brendan
Brendan

@harold That's not happening here. Refer to my previous statement. 

harold
harold

@a57se @harold 


It is pretty silly @a57se that they are dumping on the stat just because it is not perfect. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Please tell me where I stated either of those things. Don't put words in my mouth, and passive aggressively mock them for me, please. 

Brendan
Brendan

@harold I obviously like stats, too. Which is why I have an issue with a made-for-TV stat being taken seriously when it's just so wildly flawed. QB Rating is flawed, too, but it paints a much fairer picture of a QB than anything else we use. QB rating with context is what we will continue to use because it's the best we have. QBR took a shot at being a better measure, but it isn't. As I said, the idea is sound, but ESPN executed it poorly. It's not the PER-stat they hoped for. 


There are many, many more examples of how this system is not set up properly. Season long? Dan Orlovsky's 2008 campaign is better than Big Ben's from the same season? It's just more unreliable than QB rating, whether you want to admit it or not. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

It is an ESPN made up stat, therefore it is intrinsically bad.......It must be biased towards the Pats and ANTI-JET!

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


Okay Brendan.  Whatever you say.  I like stats.  But to dump on it is silly.  It has been shown to be more effective then QB rating in many games.  QB rating seems to be right in many games a well.  It is a solid stat.  Not perfect but I actually like it more than QB rating in most cases.  You can like the stats you like without trying to tear down QBR in a small sample of a half of football (where I think it can be debated ESPN got it right).

Brendan
Brendan

@harold 


The Dallas game where they headed into the 4th quarter with a touchdown lead over the Jets, but lost directly as a result of Tony Romo's interception at the end of the game? You seriously want me to say not getting a 1st down with those conservative playcalls is less clutch than throwing an interception that gave the Jets the set of downs in the first place


It is poorly executed because it's secretive and counter-intuitive on a regular basis. 

harold
harold

@BDarc23 


Total TD's 7.  That would be 28  total TD's.  I never said Passing TD's.  Thanks


This is want I posted below:


It was good by any standard.  If you add that over a full season you would have 28 total TD's to only 8 turnovers.  Over 3,100 yards passing and 600 yards rushing completing almost 60% of his passes.  That is good by any measure overall.  While not an elite passing level.  It is certainly excellent QB play.  Of that there should be little debate.


Also above I said borderline Pro Bowl level (not surefire pro bowler).  Based on that type of TD to turnover ratio of almost 4 to 1.  I think that is certainly possible.

BDarc23
BDarc23

Harold- he threw 4 tds the last 4 games. Thats 16 tds for and 3200 pasing yds for the season. He'll likely need to do a lot more than that to make the pro bowl.

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


Who said it was perfect?  I just gave you a season long look at Tebow's QBR vs. Qb rating.  yet you ignore it.  Their are no perfect stats.  Just stats. QBR is not poorly executed just because it is not perfect.  That is a poorly constructed argument if that is what makes it a poor stat. 


In, addition the Dallas game should be the last one you point to.  Sanchez was not clutch in that game. We blocked a kick and returned it for a TD.We did not even get a first down after the Revis INT which is why we had to kick a 50 yard field goal. 

Brendan
Brendan

@harold It's really annoying when you just assume people you disagree with are misinformed. 


I did my research on QBR as well. Did you know that in the opener against Dallas a few years ago, that Mark Sanchez's "clutch" rating (as you are aware, one of the components of QBR) was lower than Tony Romo's, despite the fact that Romo threw a game-losing interception and Sanchez led a 2nd half comeback to win the game? Great system. 


And then there's the infamous "Tebow vs. Rodgers" debate where Rodgers threw for nearly 400 yards and 2 scores in a win and Tebow took over at halftime, compiled 117 total yards and didn't win the game, but somehow the per-play analysis of the two said that Tebow had a better day. 


It's flawed. Nice idea, poorly executed. 

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


He hardly played in 2010.  So that is not even really an legit sample size.  Dilfer by the way is not a fan of Tebow at all.  So again this a very flawed argument you are putting forth.  His QBR in the season where he played a large amount of time 2011 was only 29.2.  His QB rating was 72.1 largely because he did not throw INT's.


The QBR was much more accurate with Tebow than the QB rating was (Again you guys seem to really misunderstand the stat).  I have been reading up on it since the day it came out.  I took the time to read about and I how it ranks the QB's.  You guys may want to do the same before you keep giving us these misinformed and biased opinions.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold It made him look competent. His rating in 2010 would have rated him the 14th best QB in the league if he qualified. 


It's a metric championed by Mr. Insufferable himself, Trent Dilfer. It was an incredibly flawed metric, it may not be anymore, but it was introduced after Tebow's 2010 campaign to make him look not as terrible as he was. 

harold
harold

@Brendan @harold 


Tebow never had a high QBR so that is certainly false.  I think you guys may be misunderstanding the metric.


It rewards players for making plays at important points of the game.  So garbage time stats don't get as much credit as stats that have a legit impact on the game (Big improvement over QB rating).


I appreciate that effort.  I also like that they are giving credit to mobile and running QB's for the positive impact they make with their legs.


I really think you need to look at it as a legit stat, that like any other is open to your interpretation.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold They made it up to justify why they spoke about Tebow so much. 


Perhaps they've refined it since then, but it started as a gimmick. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se @harold


Gabbert started three games, Henne started 13.  


If you're insisting on it being week one starters, then he beat Weeden, Pryor and Freeman.

harold
harold

@Bent @harold 


I agree it is not perfect but I like that it takes into account a QB's total contribution.  Also it gives less weight to garbage time stats which inflate QB's stats.

harold
harold

@a57se @harold 


He was the starting QB for the Jaguars.  He played in 15 games and started 13.  He was the starting QB. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

Since Chad Henne did not start the year as the starting QB, Geno WAS the lowest rated starting QB in the league and he was 34th out of 38 on ESPN's list............

Bent
Bent moderator

@harold


I was unaware until today.  Not a fan of QBR - it's too clunky, subjective and misleading.

harold
harold

@Bent @harold @BDarc23 @jake100 


I didn't give it as a positive, just an incorrect fact.


My statement was: "He was not the lowest rated in QBR, although it was nothing to write home about."  That doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement for his QBR.


In addition, I always knew it took into account running.  Was that not common knowledge?

Bent
Bent moderator

@harold @BDarc23 @jake100 He barely beat Chad Henne in terms of QBR, that's all.  And with today's revelation that QBR takes into account runs, that's really not very positive.