“At quarterback we decided to go with Mike Vick this week and give him the opportunity to work extensively with the first-team offense and have Geno take a step back for the first time in his career,” Rex Ryan said. “Maybe get a different perspective of it.”
It has not been a good year for the second-year quarterback. Smith has had some positive moments but, as is the case with all Jet quarterbacks in recent memory, it’s the turnovers and drive killing mistakes sprinkled far too often in-between those positive moments that has doomed yet another Jets season.
“This is something you have to expect with the way I performed in the previous game,” Smith said.
Smith is hardly the only one to blame for the 1-7 start but the changes have to start somewhere and a turnover machine of a quarterback is as good a place as any to start.
“I just think that it gives us a chance at, I think when Mike came in the game I thought it did give us a spark,” Ryan said. “I felt the energy on the sideline and I think given an opportunity that he really hasn’t been given, which is to run with the first-team all week that will see how it plays out.”
Vick called this a “great opportunity” and said he plans on taking full advantage of that opportunity. Vick also said he talked with Smith about how this could benefit the young quarterback in the long-term.
“Geno and I talked and it’s a great opportunity to learn and catch his breath,” Vick said. “He’s never had a chance to be that student of the game.”
Smith agreed with Vick saying, “I have to use it to my advantage. I can deal with it. It’s not the worst thing to happen to me in my life.”
If Vick can’t take advantage of this opportunity, he’ll need to play much better than he did against the Chargers and Bills, then you won’t have seen the last of Smith in the 2014 season.
“Again, this is not looking long-term. This is about the immediate,” Ryan said. “My focus is just on that, that’s Kansas City and trying to find a way to get a win and that’s why this decision was made.“
Fans and the media might be willing to write Smith off but his coach is not. Ryan said he still believes in his second-year quarterback.
“Of course you hope a young quarterback could be that guy and he had a poor game, there’s no doubt he had a very poor game.” Ryan said, “But have there been guys who take a step back to take a leap forward? There have been guys like that and hopefully that’s what happens.”
Smith certainly hopes he can become one of those guys Ryan talked about but even if he does it won’t happen soon enough to save Ryan’s job.
Maybe Smith can be good one day, maybe he would have been better off sitting for a year or two. No one knows for sure. All we know is he’s not very good now and for that reason the Jets finally had to make a change.