Michael Vick may not be on the New York Jets anymore but that doesn't mean he still isn't supporting the team or his former teammates. And despite a rocky offseason, Vick still believes in quarterback Geno Smith as a franchise quarterback.
Vick, brought in last offseason as a mentor (and only a mentor) to Smith as he then headed into his second year in the NFL:, didn't exactly have the best of experiences in New York. Internally, he was instantly relegated to second-string and the Jets only turned to Vick midway through the season as Smith struggled, only to then hand the veteran the clipboard again just a couple games later. Keep in mind also that the Jets decided not to keep Vick around, letting go of the former No. 1 pick.
That the Jets didn't exactly treat Vick well or give the four-time Pro Bowler a real chance to win the starting job doesn't seem to factor into his opinion on Smith. Vick thinks that Smith can handle the Porsche.
“I think Geno just has to stay the course. I think without struggle there’s no progress, and I think he’s been through that part throughout the first two years of his career,” Vick said on NFL Total Access last night on the NFL Network.
“I watched him mature a lot down the stretch throughout the course of the year last year and he started to get it. I think some guys, it takes longer than others. I think going into year three, Geno can go in with some confidence, feeling good about the way he finished up last year and have an opportunity to go out there and show his teammates and show the Jets nation that he has it, he has what it takes and they’re waiting to see it.”
This offseason, the Jets brought in another veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick to compete for the starting job as well as drafting Baylor product Bryce Petty in the fourth round, a move that may signal the Jets long-term plans under center. The Jets haven't limited Fitzpatrick to a helping hand role, saying that while Smith goes into training camp as the starter there will be competition at the quarterback competition. So on paper, the team is at least saying that Smith isn't destined for the starting job.
How that actually plays out is still anyone's guess.
It has been a see-saw offseason for Smith, who struggled mightily on the first day of minicamp last week then settled down for two rather solid performances to close out the camp. But that was also the case last offseason where Smith looked good in shorts but struggled in training camp and during preseason. He's consistently done well in camp settings where there is no contact and he can make safe throws on slants and underneath routes.
He then struggles once the pads are on and he faces a real pass rush, throwing bad passes and showing poor footwork along with a lack of touch on his deep balls.