Opinion: Jets have a familiar QB mess

Corey Griffin, TheJetsBlog.com

There’s something fishy in Florham Park and it’s starting to look like old times are here again.

For the second straight week, the Jets’ decision makers appear to be at odds with at least one of their signal-callers when it comes to the most important word in the Florham Park lexicon: Competition.

USATSI_7632218_110579513_lowresRex Ryan, a reformed parrot for the John Idzik way of thinking, says Michael Vick and Geno Smith are “no doubt” competing for the starting quarterback job. It’s the same message he and Idzik have delivered since the day Vick walked through the doors. It’s also a message with which Vick continues to disagree.

On the same day Ryan doubled (Tripled? Quadrupled?) down on his pledge that Vick and Smith are openly battling for the right to the start Week 1, the savvy veteran dropped a rather telling retort:

“Nah.”

It’s nothing new from Vick, who for weeks has been telling anyone that asked that this is far from an open test of quarterbacking skills. It seems he knows something we don’t, or at least something the Jets won’t tell.

“I knew what I was getting into when I got here,” Vick said. “It’s everything I expected. I’m having fun with the guys.”

While Ryan and Idzik are busy reading from their pre-written P.R. playbook, Vick is giving you the inside scoop. No matter how many times the “C” word is dropped between now and September 7, the decision has already been made. It’s Smith’s job to win, lose and draw, a refrain that stinks of mediocre familiarity.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is the franchise and coach that put Mark Sanchez through the rigorous Kellen Clemens competition before gift-wrapping him the starting job for the next three years. When they actually chose to “threaten” Sanchez’s stability, they decided Tim Tebow was the answer. Now, with another quarterback who is far from proven and another defense that is playoff-worthy, they bring in Vick to play the show pony. New regime, same mistake, it would seem.

Some would understandably question Vick’s motives. Why would a rapidly-aging quarterback, in possibly his last chance to start, undermine the only coach and GM that appeared willing to roll the dice on him in free agency? The conspiratorial among you would likely reason that Vick is attempting to lure Smith into a false sense of security, convincing the young QB that he’s simply there to be an ear to bend in the film room and on the sidelines before thoroughly outperforming a complacent 23-year-old in August. If that’s the case, then Vick is playing the greatest long con I’ve seen in my time as a Jets fan. But it’s far more likely that Vick is simply done with the games at this point in his career and is painting a more honest picture than the organization, which is still trying to rinse itself of the stink of the circus era.

Geno SmithThe truth is Vick was far from desired in free agency. The Jets offered him the best payday, while also presenting the best shot he was going to get at a starting job — not because he’d get the chance to earn it in the offseason, but rather step into it mid-season.

The only reason Smith wasn’t pulled sooner last year was because there were simply no better options. The Matt Simms Experiment was a desperate move, one that woke Smith up enough for him to perform admirably over the season’s final four games. Vick presents a far better option simply by being in the building. If you add in his experience in Mornhinweg’s system and his obvious physical gifts, it’s not hard to argue that he is the best quarterback on the roster.

The real question is how the Jets will handle things if Smith isn’t the clear No. 1 in training camp and in the preseason. What if Vick is at least slightly better, if not definitively the better option? Will they stick true to their mantra and abandon their second-round pick for the hired gun? With Ryan’s job on the line, he’ll want the guy that gives him the best chance to win. Then again, how much say Ryan has in this organization is up for debate.

Meanwhile, Vick’s comments tell the story of an organization already wedded to “their guy” and not necessarily the best guy — a view that shouldn’t surprise anyone given the history of this team under Ryan and the brief look we got at Idzik’s roster management last season. For all the talk about Ryan and Idzik’s philosophical disagreements, their propensity to stand by their guys is a faulty trait shared.

In the end, Smith could make all of this moot with his play on the field. Ryan has spent the offseason raving about Smith’s progress in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, while simultaneously pointing out how tough Smith would be to beat out in this “competition.” Then again, it’s tough to take any NFL coach or executive at his word in March, April and May. In the days of non-contact drills and playbook installs, everybody is a contributor and little honesty is given.

All we have right now is the words of a coach fighting for his job against those of an outsider quarterback, who entered Florham Park with clear eyes and information that the public doesn’t have. You can choose who to believe.


Corey Griffin is a columnist for theJetsBlog.com and a co-host of theJetsBlog Podcast. He can be reached at @cgriffin415 on Twitter or by email at thejetsblogpodcast@gmail.com.




646 comments
Robert James
Robert James

Investing more than one year to a QB who had the worst offense in the league and still performed fairly well in spots is "an exercise in mediocrity?" 


Because Michael Vick is some sort of worldbeater? Step away from the Madden. 


Vick is an insurance policy. It's simple. There's very little any team could know about Geno Smith based on last year's offensive roster. If he stinks this year, Vick is good enough that the team can contend for a playoff spot (I don't buy this, I think he's washed up and was always overrated). His presence provides Smith with an incentive to work hard. To say it doesn't is silly. 


Clear the author is trying to manufacture controversy where no controversy exists. Weaksauce.

Leon Feder
Leon Feder

Isn't it clear that when they signed Vick they said "This is your best option. You come into a system which you are comfortable with. You don't have the job but the incumbent looked like the worst QB in the NFL. We hope he does great but let's be honest, we don't know if he'll crumble like a house of cards again."

jaygo
jaygo

I thought for a moment Cory decided to shape up.  Wrong.  Back to believing his father owns this blog which is the only reason he gets to post articles.  Cory is a familiar mess.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

If Vick is outperforming Geno during the preseason he better consider having his wisdom teeth removed when we play the Giants.

maynard
maynard

My belief and hope is that all this 'competition" and controversy will have the desired effect of bringing out the best in Geno , the best in Vick and that our coaches have the  same philosophy they've said they've had for the last 5 yrs, and play the QB , who in their opinion  gives the jets the best chance to win.


Articles like this are just background noise and mean absolutely diddly squat.


If they start one guy over the other despite performance in camp and preseason, they run the risk of losing the locker room, and I don't think Rex will let that happen.

OmenSports
OmenSports

Corey This article sounds alot like the Andy Benoit's article from 2 months ago (way to go)

Now I must say not one bit of negativity has come out sourrounding the Jets 2014 QB situation but here you go. Geno Smith shouldnt be trusted he looked down right awful at times last year and just because he started all 16 games shouldnt garuntee him the starters role, I look at it this way if Geno starts that fine because Vick can't stay healthy. I trust Vick in a back-up role far more then would trust Geno at this point.I think Vick is more built to come in and pull a game out of the fire then so Geno. Everyone is so caught up in who will start the season but I'm more concerned with who will finish the season at QB.

Kevin Flynn
Kevin Flynn

Nice piece but in my opinion this QB "mess" is a non-story. The only thing that matters is how the situation plays itself out on the field, not in the press room. And from what I saw from the OTAs, the Jets got off to a nice start.

kniff
kniff

Nice work Griffin, that article paints a very telling and truthful picture of what is going on in Florham Park...


"Nah" speaks volumes to me as well. Vick in this case is ironically the only straight shooter.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

How many teams would love to have our mess?

harvlis
harvlis

Corey, No mess. Just start Vick and we are good. Let Geno learn. Can't hurt.

Alec Wilson
Alec Wilson

Look the way I see it is it's a simply play of words, and nothing for everyone to get there knickers in a twist about..


..Idzik talks about competition all over the roster and he's right, everyone is going to get a chance to prove they deserve a starting spot, but of course your not going to give say freeman equal snaps in order to replace mangold, but you still rotate these kind of players in, because you never know what they might bring to the table.


Every positional battle is different and the QB battle is the most so, the jets for instance have said they expect Patterson to be the starter @ CB, but it wouldn't surprise any of us if it was someone different....the only thing the Jets have done wrong here is not say 'yes Geno is our current starting QB, but if Vick outplays him he's going to be our guy, and he's going given every chance to show that'

buckets
buckets

Change title to: "Corey Griffin Writes Familiar Mess"

jetsfan14
jetsfan14

Morninwheg pretty much put this to rest today (let's see if the media is listening): he owned up that this is not a 50-50 competition like last year, and that they are counting on Geno to take that next step and for Vick to help him take it. At the same time, he wants Vick to be ready to play (if Geno blows it or gets injured). So Vick is the back-up. End of story. Everyone knows it, but for some reason the Idzik competition mantra keeps people from coming out and just saying it. 


I give Vick kudos for being up-front about it.

Cordell C
Cordell C

It's funny that people are getting worked up about this. Nothing had changed. There will be a competition it just won't be an equal one. Vick has to clearly be the better option otherwise geno will start even if Vick does slightly outplay geno. No news here same thing we been saying for months on the blog.

levi
levi

Dont have time to read all the comments but isnt Smith starting something we all knew and most agree is the thing to do? You have to see if he is the man for the future or not, we know Vick isnt. So if Geno isnt next year we try again.

Tequila Joe
Tequila Joe

We all knew what the media was going to do when the Jets signed Vick. They love the drama and too many of us take the bait. 

eurojet
eurojet

the circus is back in NYC. Thank you Mike Vick! Why cant you shut your mouth in front of the media...

Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 They played it like it was Game 7, and they probably had to. Hank with the shutout to get to the Finals was poetic justice after Game 5. 

a57se
a57se

@jaym 

On to the Finals!!!

Way to go RANGERS!!

bob
bob

@Brendan 


I cant give you the cup right now. I'm making coffee.

Brendan
Brendan

@levi That's the sensible, realistic and intelligent understanding of the situation. 


But Manish and Cimini and Kim Martin are all dumbing it up with their BS, so people have to act like there's a controversy when there isn't one. 

a57se
a57se

@levi 

That basically sums it up......

Brendan
Brendan

@bob It's been really inspirational the way Kelly has handled this adversity. Good for him, and may god grant him many more healthy years. Lord knows he's earned them. 

bob
bob

@eurojet 


Wait Doh Minute.. That's not very nice!  Now you go over there right now and tell Mike Vick your sorry...



Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 Yeah, they're obviously pretty banged up, so the rest will be nice. And I have tickets to a concert on Saturday, so not having a game conflict with that is a selfish little added bonus to winning last night. 


Almost there...

Bent
Bent moderator

@Brendan "I'm actually sitting here, with a stiff drink in my hand waiting for the Rangers to kick off. "


I think it's called a "face-off" in hockey.  

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 I'm not emotional about this, Will, promise. I'm actually sitting here, with a stiff drink in my hand waiting for the Rangers to kick off. 


And to be fair, you've asked me very different questions at different stages of this hours-long discussion (was it a slow day at work for you, too?) that I had to respond to very differently. 


My steady stance has been that this team has never been fully open at every position, the premise is actual nonsense. Nick Mangold and Wilkerson weren't competing for jobs last year, but the team had to make it an all-or-nothing thing the first year, otherwise it's an impossible sell. Everyone had to come in during Idzik's first year and prove themselves. At this point, you have starters, so not every position is a fully open competition. 


If you want someone to say "yes, Idzik wasn't spot-on with that throwaway comment he made over a year ago in one of his first pressers" then fine, I just did. But acting like that sentence is what we're narrowing this down to instead of the, as you've already stated, countless "competition" comments, is kinda crazy. 


The team is about competition and depth, but above all winning. Idzik knows that this is what worked in his previous stops, the idea that no veteran's job was safe if he slept on it and let a young pup gain ground on him. That's true here, but because they were/are rebuilding, young players have a weighted grade, so to speak. Competition is still a vital aspect of this team, as it pushes veterans to stay on their game and pushes young guys to make sure the veterans know there's someone gunning for their job. Is it happening at every position? No, but it doesn't happen at every position anywhere in the league. But as long as it happens on the team, and the players know it is possible, that's the tool to motivate people, and that's ultimately what internal competition is for. 


I finally had a chance to sit down and gather myself, and not run around posting on my phone or at work. Hope that makes things a bit easier to follow. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Pete 57 I'm not bothered by it anymore. We should just assume that what's told to the media can be/is BS from time to time, and not take it as gospel. As tjsc68 even admitted, the "competition" was just something they fed the media. 

Pete 57
Pete 57

I hear what you're saying. I have gotten a little emotional myself once or twice. I'm just saying that I'm not bothered by anything Idzik has said, especially to the media.

williamg1
williamg1

@Pete 57 Pete, I'm actually not upset. I just think its funny that Brendan has tried 50 million ways to say that his position is consistent. It hasn't been. Its just that Brendan has to find a way to argue. 


If you notice, this all started because I asked if someone was being sarcastic with an overreaction about a QB controversy. It was at that point Brendan started with "he's on you side."


Brendan gets emotional like that. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 That's not my argument, at all. 


You're the one who has been asking about meanings, I've been pretty clear on what Idzik's meant all along. 

Pete 57
Pete 57

Bill I thought we were through this earlier today. First of all Idzik didn't give a statement, he was answering a question. His answer was meant as a deflection, ie he wasn't going to give them an answer. You seem stuck on the fact that he "lied". The answer he gave is similar to answers by every GM and coach in the NFL. It means nothing. How about this: forgive him for llying, and we'll move on.

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 


And your argument has been: "we don't know what Idzik meant, but what he meant was......Anyone who disagrees is wrong."



Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 And nothing they've done has indicated that's a lie. You understand competition to basically be a race, winner and loser, clear-cut. That's not NFL competition. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 Idzik has talked about competition nonstop since then. 


He didn't only mention it once. Its been the organizations mantra. Tell me it hasn't? 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 It's sad that this is the crux of your entire argument today. 


"Idzik said a thing 13 months ago, he lied!" 


Constantly evaluating your roster is a good thing, it doesn't mean every roster spot is up for grab. Argue semantics until you choke on them, I don't care anymore. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 Mark Sanchez plays all positions on the roster?


And "as long as I'm here" only relates to 2013?


Man, you guys edit Idzik's comments worse than Cimini and Manish. Think about that. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Please feel free to stop taking a quote about Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith said in April of 2013 and presenting it as a new quote. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 


“It’s an open competition not only at quarterback, but at all positions on our roster. That will hold not only throughout the entire year, but hold as long as I’m here."


Idzik


Pleae feel free to contact Idzik to tell him what he really meant. He clearly didn't know what he meant by NFL competition. 


He should have consulted with you first!!!!


Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Plenty. Offense? Defense? Coaching? Draft? FA? 


Pick your poison, I'll give you a criticism. 


Making this about me doesn't bode well for your argument, though. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 Brendan, can you name a SINGLE time you've criticized the organization? 


Hell, not even criticized -- has there ever been a time you haven't defended them?

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Your misunderstanding of what competition at the NFL level implies is not John Idzik's fault. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 Oh, please. He's been preaching it nonstop. And you guys have been reminding us of "competition. competition. competition." nonstop. Now all of the sudden, it means nothing. 



Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Dude. Stop. 


He came here talking about competition over a year ago. Are you calling out the team for not having an open competition at center? No? then what you are doing is hypocritical. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 It happened. He came in talking about open competition at all positions. 


Is it an indictment? No. But it does mean you shouldn't take their word as gospel. 


You should really think about that before always reflexively defending.

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 I don't think that happened, nor has it happened. That's your issue to resolve, not mine. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Questioning is one thing. You're accusing them of lying. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 You mean, I've actually questioned something FO has done. That means I think they're a circus? 


Getting a little carried away, don't you think?