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Throughout his career, Michael Vick has never been one to shy away from complimenting his fellow competition. And this week, that didn’t change.
"He's going to be great," Vick told Yahoo Sports, speaking about Geno Smith, the man he’s battling for the New York Jets' starting quarterback position. "He's going to be 10 times better than where he was last year and I'm looking forward to it."
Cynics might suggest that if Smith does indeed improve ten-fold, it won’t be saying much; the second-year signal caller out of West Virginia struggled mightily his first year in the pros, tossing a whopping 21 interceptions, good for fourth worst among all passers, versus only 12 scores, according to ESPN.
He was the not-so-proud owner of the third worst completion percentage (55.8 percent) and dead last as well in QB rating among those who attempted enough passes to qualify. So, given the fact that it would be an incredible feat to not improve upon those numbers, being 10 times better this season would probably propel him up to the middle of the pack.
But strides like that would be acceptable for a quarterback’s sophomore campaign (as long as he can repeat those strides the following year), and middle of the pack might be the best that the Jets can hope for this year, as Vick himself has spent most of his recent playing time floating around there as well.
Since his magical 2010 campaign in which he rode career highs in completion percentage and rushing and passing TDs to a 10-6 record, and a Wild Card birth as well, Vick has posted a mediocre 35 scores against 27 interceptions, to go along with a 56.7 completion percentage. Surely 10 times better should fetch numbers close to that, right? And if it does, the Jets would have little reason to hand the job to Vick, as he’s 11 years older than Smith, and very brittle as well, having missed 18 games in the past three years, in contrast to Smith’s squeaky-clean injury history.
The Jets must realize this, because the New York Daily News reports that Vick has accepted his back-up role to Smith, and that, unless a catastrophic collapse, which doesn’t look likely. He completed four out of six passes for 33 yards in the Jets 13-10 win over the Colts in their first preseason game last night, while Vick completed only three out of six for a meger 17 yards, or an injury befalls Smith this preseason, he’ll be the starter on opening day, just a little over a month away.
While Vick’s non-injury induced starting days might be over, his willingness to provide positive comments about the man keeping him from taking the field on Sundays is most beneficial, in addition to the leadership and football IQ that he brings as well.
In short, Vick may have ceded the quarterbacking on the field to Geno, but he’s far from doing so off of it.
image via MediaPunch/INFphoto.com