New York Jets: What QB Controversy?

By Luke Ewing
Geno Smith and Marty Mornhinweg
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Have the New York Jets created a quarterback controversy with the addition of veteran quarterback Michael Vick? Marty Mornhinweg doesn’t think so. The Jets’ offensive coordinator had this to say to reporters in his first public comments regarding the position battle since the Jets signed Vick last month:

I think this thing will work beautifully, I expect Geno to progress at a high rate with Mike’s help. It’s just that simple … We brought Mike in to compete, to push Geno and to make Geno the very best he can be.

Mornhinweg stopped short of naming Geno Smith the starter in week 1, but at this point it sounds like the job is Smith’s to lose. One thing is for certain — Vick’s presence on the roster is an indication that Smith is not going to be coddled, and he’s going to be on a short leash. If Smith bottoms out or regresses in 2014, Vick will be there waiting to take the reins.

Having a starting-caliber backup QB capable of winning games isn’t a controversy, and in fact should be considered a luxury given the lack of competition at the position during the Sanchez era.

The Jets had invested quite a bit in Mark Sanchez (two picks, three players, and over $50 million) and were willing to keep their “Sanchize” under center no matter how mightily he struggled. The paltry competition they had on the depth chart only made matters worse, as Sanchez never had any true competition or threat to his job.

Perhaps if the young QB had reason to be fearful of consequence for poor play, we’d be thinking about Sanchez differently in 2014, without words like “disappointment” and “butt-fumble” coming to mind.

I believe the Jets are trying to learn from their experience with Sanchez, and I like that no one is being handed anything. The starting spot is going to be earned. No matter how the QB competition shakes out, New York will enter the 2014 season with a Plan A and a Plan B. This isn’t controversy. This is the Jets learning from past mistakes, and it’s smart strategy.

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