Starting Geno Smith over Michael Vick could be a mistake for the Jets, according to simulations. Credit: Getty Images
Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision” that will include the coaching staff and team management.
Metro New York posed a different solution: Let a computer do it.
According to PredictionMachine.com, the decision between Smith, a second-round pick last season and the incumbent starter, and the well-established Vick is a no-brainer. Through 50,000 simulations of the Jets' season for each quarterback, the Predictalator saw a clear-cut trend: Start Vick.
With Smith as the starter, PredictionMachine.com has the Jets going 6-10 with a 10 percent chance at the playoffs and a 0.1 percent shot at winning the Super Bowl. Vick, on the other hand, gives the Jets a 7-9 record and a 20 percent chance at the playoffs.
The Jets shot at a Super Bowl win doubles under Vick, albeit to a minuscule 0.2 percent chance.
Paul Bessire, general manager of PredictionMachine.com, noticed an interesting trend with Vick or Smith. He says that no matter who starts for the Jets, he and the Predictalator don't think it makes much of a difference. The Jets are not a very good team.
“First and foremost, what stood out to me was that this is not a great team regardless of the quarterback,” Bessire said. “Despite a relatively weak overall division, the Jets have less than a 20 percent chance to make the playoffs and are only favored in a few games either way.
“That being said, the fact that the Jets would be favored in only two games with Geno Smith as the quarterback and five games with Michael Vick starting is a significant difference. Digging into the quarterback numbers, the completion percentages and rushing performances are almost identical. This is not to say that Smith is expected to be anything like the runner that Vick used to be, but that Vick’s rushing abilities and propensity at age 34 years old have regressed back to a player like Smith. Two main differences stand out in that Vick is more adept at making explosive plays in the passing game — averaging a half a yard more per completion — and Vick is not quite as prone to making the catastrophic mistake.”
But there are many things the simulation can't account for. They assume the quarterback will be taking 100 percent of the snaps for the entire season, which is questionable for the injury-prone Vick.
Here are the numbers straight from PredictionMachine ...
“For any other position, a full one-win difference between two possible starters at one position would be very significant, but it is relatively common among quarterbacks,” Bessire said. “In actuality, very few teams in the NFL have two quarterbacks on the roster within one projected win when comparing a full season with either player starting every game. That’s not really a good thing to have. Some teams, like the Broncos or Packers, would have a difference of five-plus wins, though obviously there is no battle with those squads.”