As the New York Jets begin OTAs this week, position battles all over the roster are about to heat up. There has been discussion about which players might fit where throughout the offseason, but now the entire team is on the field and roster spots must be earned. With that in mind, let’s take a look at an early projection of the Jets’ quarterback depth chart.
Starter: Geno Smith
Reserves: Michael Vick, Tajh Boyd
The Jets’ quarterback situation was a disaster last season, with the rookie Smith throwing 21 interceptions and just 12 touchdowns. Smith was benched three times for Matt Simms, and the quarterback controversy was a problem for the Jets all season. The Jets chose to make the aggressive move of signing Michael Vick this offseason, a decision that cast some serious doubt over Smith’s future. Vick lost his starting job with the Philadelphia Eagles to Nick Foles last season, but he still believes he can be an impact quarterback in the NFL.
Right now, everything coming out of the Jets organization has made it abundantly clear that Smith is the starter and Vick will have to be very impressive in the preseason in order to unseat him. Don’t buy it. Rex Ryan needs to win this season to save his job, and right now Vick is his best bet. It will be interesting to see if there is an organizational disconnect, as John Idzik may want Smith to start in order to see what they actually have in him as the Jets continue to build for the future. Realistically, this will be a open competition, and the Jets should do the simple thing and start the player who performs best this summer.
There will also be a second quarterback competition between Simms and sixth round pick Boyd, except the loser of this one will be cut. Boyd was a college star who was picked apart in the draft process and fell to the sixth after once being a projected first round pick. Simms was a fan favorite last season, but the truth is that his performance in mop up duty never really demonstrated that he is capable of making an impact in the NFL.
This will be a very close competition, but you have to think that Boyd is the favorite right now. The Jets plan on developing him into a long term backup, and he has a better chance of becoming a starter down the road than Simms does. Also, Boyd gives the Jets a third mobile quarterback, keeping a congruence throughout the position.
All eyes will be on the quarterbacks yet again for the Jets this season, and the competition between Vick and Smith will be among the most closely watched in the league. In the weak AFC, the Jets believe they have the talent to make the playoffs at every other position, but that won’t matter if their quarterback play doesn’t improve drastically. The team desperately needs Vick or Smith to step up in the preseason, or it will be back to the drawing board at the most important position.