Step back from the ledge, New York Jets fans. No one is going to argue that Michael Vick is the missing piece of the puzzle and will be the Jets’ savior in 2014, but chin up! There is good reason to believe that this will prove to be a solid signing.
It is fair to say that Vick is probably not going to be the answer at quarterback for Gang Green. He can be an exciting player and has always had an impressive skill set, but his struggles with injuries and turnovers are well documented. The ability to stay healthy and keep the ball out of the other team’s hands are two things he’s been unable to do for any extended period of time in the NFL.
Unfortunately for coach Rex Ryan and the Jets, it’s unlikely that Vick will have a second career revival in four years at the age of 34 and put together the kind of season the Jets have needed at the QB position to support their top-tier defense.
However, there is something Vick brings to the table that the Ryan era Jets have never had and sorely needed — a legitimate, bona fide quarterback competition. Rookie Geno Smith won the starting position by default in 2013 with incumbent Mark Sanchez getting injured during the preseason. Backup Matt Simms saw some time last year, but it was clear even in his limited action that he was no real threat to usurp Smith as the starter.
This lack of competition at the QB position has been a trend for the Jets ever since Ryan took over in 2009. At no point in the past five years have the Jets had a situation in which their No. 2 quarterback was capable of challenging their No. 1. There is no reason to believe that Sanchez was ever fearful of losing his job to his backup during his formative years.
Perhaps Jets management has recognized this fact and has decided to take a different approach with Smith by bringing in Vick to challenge him to be better. Perhaps Vick will prove his doubters wrong and end up starting in Week 1. Whatever the case may be, with Vick on board in 2014, the Jets will finally have an honest competition at the quarterback position.
The starting spot will have to be earned. For the first time in years, it’s open season at quarterback for the Jets — may the best man win.