Mike Vick already has addressed his decision to join the Jets. Not via a press conference, but in an interview with the team’s official website. (At least they didn’t call it an “exclusive,” like way too many team websites do when interviewing employees of the team.)
Right out of the gates, it’s unclear whether Vick is there to support starting quarterback Geno Smith or to try to send Geno to the bench.
“I have an opportunity to come in and compete,” Vick said. “Push Geno, help him. Be there for him. And just try to help this team win some games in whatever way I can, and that’s going to be my contribution.”
It’s a delicate balance for Vick. He’ll never come out and say that he wants to be the quarterback who is taking the snaps while Geno is holding a clipboard, but that desire will never be too far beneath the surface.
“My role is going to be to get in and win football games whenever it’s required,” Vick said. “You know, whenever my number is called. Whenever I’m asked to go out there and play quarterback for this football team, my role is to get out there and win. As far as from a day-to-day standpoint, to be the best leader I can be, to help all the quarterbacks become the best they can be.”
But, yeah, Vick wants to be the quarterback who’s actually playing. Which surely will cause some friction with the guy who currently holds that job. Which will make it hard for Vick to really help Geno.
“Well I think just us working every day,” Vick said when asked how specifically he’ll help Smith. “We’ll build our relationship, we’ll help one another. We’ll build our football skills. He’ll learn from me just like I’ll learn from him. So, you know, I can’t really say now what I can help him do. We have to be on the field. I’ll feed off him, he’ll feed off me.”
Asked what the Jets are getting in Vick, he didn’t hesitate.
“They’re getting a great football player and a great person,” Vick said. “I think at the end of the day, regardless of what happened in the past, I’m here to do one thing. And that’s play football. And I think that will be embraced, it’s already been embraced in the building.”
It may not be embraced by Geno Smith, who so far has had nothing to say about the courtship of Vick, and the eventual consummation.
Even if this weren’t playing out in New York, the looming Vick-Smith competition will loom over the team indefinitely. And even if the Jets declare that Smith is still the starter (something they were reluctant to do even before pursuing Vick), all eyes will be on Smith for any sign of slippage that would open the door for Vick to take over the job.
It’s almost better to just make Vick the starter from the get go. He’s clearly the better quarterback, and he’s destined to send Smith — who was shaky without someone breathing down his neck — to the sidelines. It’s better to just make the move and focus on getting Smith ready to play in the inevitable event that Vick suffers an injury that knocks him out of action for a week or two.