Update: Vick has been signed to the Jets, Sanchez released
With a Michael Vick signing looking more and more like a certainty, the New York Jets may be looking at a much different 2014 squad. Especially because the Jets are in the DeSean Jackson trade sweepstakes. The two seem to be linked closely, given their time together in Philly. What must Geno Smith be thinking?
We’ve seen this before…
Throw away the off-the-field circumstances, and you’ll see the Vick has been a very successful QB in the NFL (in the past)—nobody can argue with that. However, the worry is that he is swiftly declining due to age (33) and injuries. Let’s examine where he stands now, in comparison to another veteran QB that ended up starting for Gang Green.
Brett Favre came to the Jets in 2008, at 39 years of age, with expectations that he could lead the team to the promised land. He was coming off one of his better years as a starter with the Packers, throwing for 4,155 yards with 28 TDs to 15 INTs, and a completion percentage of 66.5.
Compare those statistics to an average of Vick’s last three years in Philly (for injury purposes): passing for 221.3 yards a game (about 3,541 yds, given a 16-game season), ~17 TDs to 9 INTs, and a completion percentage of 57.5. Of course, Vick and Favre are extremely different quarterbacks. Vick is known for big plays, but also his legs. He rushed for 332 yards in 2012, while Favre rushed for 32 yards in his season with the Jets.
With Favre, the New York Jets found early success, but learned quickly that age and injuries can prevent sustained success. The Jets ended their 2008 season with a 9-7 record, failing to miss the playoffs, yet improving on a 4-12 record the previous year. While changes went beyond the QB position, transitioning into the ’08 season, something has to be said about a team making a 5-game jump in the record books.
Could Vick help the Jets get over the 8-8 hurdle into the playoffs?
The biggest concern with Vick as a starter, especially, goes beyond his tendancy to play loose-and-fast football—fumbling and throwing interceptions—it’s his durability. Vick has not played a full 16-game season since 2006 with the Falcons, which also happens to be his only full season in his entire career. That’s uncommon, to say the least.
If he’s probably going to be hurt at some point, you can’t trust him to be ‘the’ guy. If the Jets do go the way of Vick as a starting quarterback, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s offensive planning would have to be applicable for Geno Smith if/when his number is called.
Why Vick Makes Sense
Given all of Vick’s limitations, the New York Jets must pursue him hard, on many fronts. From an outsider’s view, it’s obvious the Jets need to stir up some competition at quarterback.
Geno Smith was very up-and-down last season and his stat line was/is scary. 4.7% of Smith’s passes were intercepted. That’s the worst Gang Green has seen since Mark Sanchez’s rookie year (’09). The closest you’ll find, after Sanchez, is back in 1996: Frank Reich.
While Vick is not the model of a ‘standard’ quarterback mentor, he is a great fit for Smith.
The Jets, namely Rex Ryan, were begging Smith to use his athleticism and legs more often last season, and Vick may be able to help him out in that deptartment. Vick introduced the league to a true multi-talented QB, and based on Rex’s comments last season, that’s what the Jets are hoping to see from Smith.
“There’s a difference between Two Zone and Two Man, obviously, but a lot of the man things, sometimes you’ll have more of an opportunity to run,” Ryan said. “It goes without saying, (the defender’s) back is to the quarterback, so there’s bigger plays to be made that way.” -ESPN
This is where Vick comes in. This isn’t really about ‘pushing’ Geno Smith—most NFL quarterbacks have enough motivation, seeing as they’ve gotten to this stage—it’s about mentoring him and helping him break out of his shell and limited West Virginia offense.
See, Smith is still learning and it is not the time to give up on him at all. But if he can learn to take opportunities when they’re there, from someone who has had his own troubles in the past (getting the ball out quick, etc), then why pass this one up?
The New York Jets should sign Michael Vick, so that Geno Smith can become the best QB he can be, while giving the Jets a head-start on the 2014 season. If only Favre had a capable and hungry backup in 2008, maybe we’d be saying that it hasn’t been ‘that long’ since the Jets won the Lombardi Trophy.
Maybe I’m a homer, but I prefer to call it optimism. Sign Vick.
What do you all think? (Please keep comments to Vick as a player.)