Geno Smith struggled at times last season though he did finish strong. Credit: Getty Images
Michael Vick may be ready to declare Geno Smith the Jets starter but the second-year quarterback won't so bold.
Last week, Vick told NJ.com he saw Smith as the starter on the Jets, deferring to the young quarterback who started all 16 games for the Jets last season. This news, coupled with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's comments in late April that Smith would get the first snaps of preseason, seemed to usher the young quarterback in as the incumbent starter.
But Smith, speaking to the media on Thursday night at the Jets' season ticket-holder draft party, wasn't ready to make any declarations about whether he was set to start.
“I'm not trying to fend off anything. I'm here to compete with every single day — with Mike, with Matt Simms, with whoever else is on the depth chart,” Smith said. “As I always state, I'm going to compete as if I'm the last guy on the depth chart, trying to make the team, because I believe that's what got me here and that's what is going to make me a better player. When it comes to taking reps in camp, those are determined by the coaches and I'm going to take every single rep like I'm trying to make the team. And I have a lot to prove to myself, my teammates and my coaches.”
The veteran Vick comes in with an accomplished track record as a playmaker quarterback. While Smith was the Jets' second-round pick a season ago, he was anything but steady in the pocket. There is a certain level of doubt over whether he can beat Vick in a truly open competition given the veteran's resume.
But his comments last week coupled with the mentorship role he took on with Smith last year prior to the draft seems to point toward a veteran's presence on this roster, not someone brought in to start.
“Mike and I have always had a great relationship. Mike's a guy I feel can play in this league for many more years to come. He's proven,” Smith said. “I'm only trying to get to the point where he was, where he's proven, had experience in playoff games where he's done well. That's the position where I want to get to. And that's something I think he can help me grow into and learn.”
Smith later added about Vick, “those comments show where he's at as a veteran.”