Manish Mehta BY MANISH MEHTA
NY Jets' Michael Vick smart enough to know he's not the starting quarterback, despite company 'competition' line
Vick is right. Ryan knows he’s right. Idzik knows he’s right. Vick’s teammates know he’s right. Barring an injury or flop in the preseason, Smith will be the starting quarterback against the Raiders on Sept. 7 at MetLife Stadium.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, May 29, 2014, 2:20 AM
Michael Vick knows his role with the Jets even if he tries to tow the party line Wednesday.
Mike Vick was too smart to be brain washed, too savvy to be programmed by the powers that be to keep up the charade for longer than a few minutes.
The veteran quarterback was pelted with the same question after Tuesday’s OTA practice, phrased three or four different ways, before the truth came out.
One week after Vick made it clear that he doesn’t believe that he has a true shot to win the Jets’ Week 1 starting quarterback job over Geno Smith, he made it clear again.
“It’s not an open competition,” Vick said after a few half-hearted attempts to toe the company line.
Rex Ryan, programmed out of self-survival more than anything else these days, saw it differently a few minutes earlier.
“There is competition, there’s no doubt,” Ryan said. “I said from Day One that I think Geno is going to be hard to beat out. But I’ve also said that Mike’s going to have an opportunity to compete and he definitely will.”
“Competition” has been the centerpiece of general manager John Idzik’s platform. For the better part of a year and a half, Jets coaches, players and executives have preached competition, sometimes turning honest men into not-so-honest men. Anybody and everybody has a chance to win a starting job, they say with a conviction that is hardly believable.
The latest installment of the Competition Chronicles is particularly silly.
Vick is right. Ryan knows he’s right. Idzik knows he’s right. Vick’s teammates know he’s right. The security guard at the front entrance on One Jets Drive knows he’s right.
Barring an injury or flop in the preseason, Smith will be the starting quarterback against the Raiders on Sept. 7 at MetLife Stadium.
Jets officials, however, continue to perpetuate the myth that Vick, a short-term veteran insurance policy in case Smith falters, actually has an opportunity to beat out Smith this summer. Frankly, it’s insulting to Vick’s intelligence. Idzik’s mantra, of course, can be productive. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll built a Super Bowl champion on a foundation that included “Competition Wednesdays” with short scrimmages designed to fuel his team.
However, there’s no need to pretend that Vick, the ultimate team player genuinely eager to help Smith, has a legitimate chance to unseat a second-year quarterback who showed enough flashes as a rookie to deserve an opportunity to at least start 2014 under center.
Rex Ryan keeps insisting that Vick has a chance to win the starting QB job.
Vick is wise enough to realize the truth. Although he still has the skills to be a starter in the league, age and durability concerns limited his opportunities in free agency this offseason. He chose the Jets due to his familiarity with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s system and the chance that there may be a window for him to play at some point this season. He knows what he signed up for when he agreed to a one-year deal in March. Smith’s erratic play was tolerable in 2013 without a viable backup, but his margin for error has shrunk considerably now that Ryan & Co. have Vick.
Smith has been the anti-diva since his arrival, plugging along like a guy who knows that he has plenty of flaws to correct. Translation: He won’t get fat and lazy if the Jets put him atop the depth chart.
Smith’s smart enough to know that his starting job isn’t guaranteed for the season. If he struggles, he’ll be doodling on a clipboard on the sideline.
On a day when Vick and Ryan relayed conflicting messages, you sort of felt bad for both of them.
Ryan’s transparent placating of his boss has become commonplace.
“Let’s let it play out and we’ll see at the end of the day where it shakes out,” the coach said, spitting out stale talking points that you know he doesn’t truly believe.
Vick’s desire to be a solid company man for a few minutes was equally painful on the ears.
“I’m here to compete every day, help this football team win games and whatever it’s going to be in the end, it’s going to be,” he said, playing the good soldier before ultimately coming clean.
He’s been around too long, seen too much and worked too hard to be afraid of telling the truth.
Maybe his time will come with the Jets. Maybe it won’t. There’s no reason to lie to himself.
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